Cuba Sets Appeal Hearing for Jailed American

Posted July 7th, 2011 at 8:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Cuba's top court will consider an appeal from the American contractor imprisoned for crimes against the communist state.

Cuban state media Thursday announced the country's Supreme Court will consider Alan Gross's appeal on July 22. The report said U.S. officials and Gross's lawyers had been notified of the court date.

Gross is serving a 15-year sentence. He was arrested in December 2009 for bringing communications equipment into Cuba. The contractor has said he was just trying to improve Internet access for the island's small Jewish community.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter met with Gross in March and called on authorities there to release him. Gross's mother and daughter are both suffering from cancer, and there have also been requests to release the contractor on humanitarian grounds.

The United States and Cuba do not have formal diplomatic relations, only interests sections that are technically part of the Swiss embassies in each other's capitals.