Wife: American Held 5 Years in Cuba Is 'Wasting Away'

She calls on Obama to secure Alan Gross' release
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2014 9:19 AM CST
Wife: American Held 5 Years in Cuba Is 'Wasting Away'
In this Nov. 27, 2012, file photo, jailed American Alan Gross poses in Havana, Cuba.   (AP Photo/James L. Berenthal, File)

As of today, American Alan Gross has been in a Cuban prison for five years, Reuters reports, and his wife is calling on President Obama to bring him back before it's "too late." "I am afraid that we are at the end," says Judy Gross. "After five years of literally wasting away, Alan is done," though he's far from done with his 15-year sentence. She says her husband has lost more than 100 pounds—as well as five teeth—over that period, and he's now hobbling and blind in one eye. His lawyer says Gross is more and more suicidal and said his goodbyes to his wife and daughter in July.

Gross, who turned 65 in May, said he would rather die than turn 66 in prison. He's been refusing medical care and threatening a hunger strike, ABC News reports. He was arrested Dec. 3, 2009, while working for USAID as a subcontractor and sentenced for bringing telecommunications gear into the country. US officials have turned down one potential avenue to freedom: a prisoner exchange involving three Cuban agents. They say Gross shouldn't be compared to spies, Reuters notes. But the White House, which has said that the detention is "hurting the relationship between the United States and Cuba," tells ABC it's working on securing his release. (More Alan Gross stories.)

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