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June 26, 2014 10:18 am

Fears Jewish Contractor Held in Cuba May Commit Suicide After Mother’s Death

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Alan Gross with his wife, Judy, in Jerusalem. Photo: Gross family.

Judy Gross, wife of Alan Gross, the Jewish U.S. government subcontractor in the fifth year of a 15-year prison sentence in Cuba, was in Havana on Wednesday where she urged Washington to rescue her husband who she fears may be considering suicide after the death of his mother from cancer, according to The New York Post on Thursday.

In a statement, she said: “I am extremely worried that Alan is going to do something drastic now that his mother is gone. My husband and I need President Obama to do everything in his power to end this nightmare and bring Alan home from Cuba now.”

In April, Gross began a hunger strike to protest his imprisonment and draw attention to his case. He ended the hunger strike nine days later, on the request of his mother, Evelyn Gross. She died on June 18 in Texas.

In her statement, Gross’s wife said, “He has lost more than 100 pounds, is losing vision in his right eye and both of his hips are failing.”

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Their lawyer, Scott Gilbert, said, “I am extremely worried that Alan is becoming more despondent every day. Both governments need to know that Alan plans to end his life in an effort to end this agony.”

Gross was arrested in 2009 for setting up unauthorized internet networks for Cuba’s Jewish community, while being employed on a contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development. Havana convicted him of crimes against the state.

According to the Post, Cuba may be willing to swap three of its intelligence agents serving long prison terms in the U.S. on spy-related charges for the Jewish contractor, but Washington has said that the two cases should not be related.

Judy Gross raised the example of the five Guantanamo detainees recently exchanged for a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan: “If we can trade five members of the Taliban to bring home one American soldier, surely we can figure out a path forward to bring home one American citizen from a Cuban prison.”

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