Friday, March 11, 2011

Cuba Primed To Put Jew Accused Of Spying On Trial

Cuba Primed To Put Jew Accused Of Spying On Trial

The trial of US aid contractor Alan Gross, accused of subversive activities in Cuba, has opened in Havana.

The case has caused considerable tension between Cuba and the US. No verdict was immediate and the trial is expected to continue on Saturday.

Mr Gross is accused of helping to hook people up to the internet illegally on the communist island.

Analysts say a guilty verdict would be a severe setback to US President Barack Obama's moves to improve relations.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Cuba to release Mr Gross, who has been imprisoned for the past 15 months.

He faces 20 years in jail if convicted and is reported to be ill.

Mr Gross, a development worker with experience in many countries, was arrested in late 2009 while working for the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

His project involved distributing mobile phones and laptops, and helping improve internet access for Jewish Cubans, reportedly so they could communicate with other Jewish communities around the world.

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