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April 8, 2014 1:20 pm

U.S. Contractor Held in Cuban Prison, Alan Gross, Starts Hunger Strike

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Alan Gross, in happier times, visiting Jerusalem.

Alan Gross, in happier times, visiting Jerusalem.

JNS.orgAmerican-Jewish prisoner Alan Gross, who has been held in Cuba since late 2009, said he is going on a hunger strike to protest his treatment by both the Cuban and American governments.

“I began a fast on April 3rd in protest of the treatment to which I am subjected by the governments of Cuba and the United States,” Gross said in a statement to his legal team on Tuesday.

“I am fasting to object to mistruths, deceptions, and inaction by both governments, not only regarding their shared responsibility for my arbitrary detention, but also because of the lack of any reasonable or valid effort to resolve this shameful ordeal,” he said. “Once again, I am calling on President Obama to get personally involved in ending this stand-off so that I can return home to my wife and daughters.”

Gross, whose work as a subcontractor for the United States Agency for International Development entailed helping the Cuban Jewish community access the Internet, is serving a 15-year prison term for what Cuba called “crimes against the state.”

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he spoke to the Gross family on Tuesday.

“We are very, very focused on trying to get Alan Gross out of there; his treatment is inhumane,” Kerry said in testimony to Congress.

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