Leaders of more than 40 Jewish organizations wrote a letter to Pope Benedict XVI requesting intervention on behalf of American contractor Alan Gross, who is being held as a prisoner in Cuba for trying to set up the country’s Jews with Internet access.
Gross was sentenced to 15 years in a Cuban prison. “Since his arrest two years ago, his health has deteriorated. He suffers from diabetes and has lost a great deal of weight. Moreover, his mother and daughter were diagnosed with cancer and the family is in financial straits,” the letter reads.
The Pope “has been an outspoken advocate for human rights and his voice carries great authority and significance,” said Richard Stone, chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman, of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.