Judy Gross, Alan’s wife, stated, “I am incredibly grateful for the support our family is receiving from the Jewish community. We remain hopeful that this petition will inspire the Cuban authorities to release Alan on humanitarian grounds in time for the upcoming high holidays. With this petition I hope we can appeal to President Castro, Foreign Minister Rodriguez, and Ambassador Bolanos, not only as leaders of a sovereign nation, but as fathers and family men who can themselves understand what it would be like to have their family torn apart. We all hope and pray that this year Alan will be back in time to be with our family for the high holy days, and to add his mandolin and strong voice to our services.”
Gross, a resident of Potomac, Maryland, was arrested in Cuba in December 2009 while working with the small Jewish community there to improve their internet access and to create an intranet for them. He has been incarcerated ever since. He languished in prison for over a year until he was finally charged by the Cuban government. He was convicted by a Cuban court of “actions against the integrity of the State,” and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He subsequently appealed his sentence to the Cuban Supreme Court and the court reaffirmed the sentence, exhausting all of his legal remedies. His only avenue left is commutation of his sentence by Raul Castro, president of Cuba.
Gross and his supporters have rejected all accusations that he did anything, or intended to do anything, to harm the Cuban government. Quite to the contrary, his work in Cuba was only to help to improve the Cuban Jewish community’s ability to use the internet. The president of the United States, senior Administration officials, members of Congress, national leaders, and newspaper editorials have all called for his immediate release.
“We are urging Alan’s immediate release on humanitarian grounds. Since his incarceration, Alan’s eldest daughter has been diagnosed with breast cancer and undergone a double mastectomy, his 89-year-old mother is suffering from inoperable cancer, and his wife Judy has undergone surgery for an undisclosed medical issue. Alan has lost approximately 100 pounds since his arrest and is suffering from several ailments,” the JCRC said in a press statement.