Cuba frees US prisoner Alan Gross

2014-12-17 16:27
(James L Berenthal, AP)

(James L Berenthal, AP)

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Washington - Cuba has freed Alan Gross - a US contractor jailed on the communist-ruled island since 2009 - on humanitarian grounds at the request of the United States, a US official said on Wednesday.

US President Barack Obama and Cuba's President Raul Castro both scheduled statements at 17:00 GMT, their respective governments said.

"This morning, Alan Gross has departed Cuba on a US government plane bound for the United States," the official said.

"Mr Gross was released on humanitarian grounds by the Cuban government at the request of the United States."

Gross, 65, was arrested in December 2009 in Cuba for distributing communications equipment to members of the island's Jewish community while working as a contractor for the US Agency for International Development.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2011 after being convicted of crimes against the Cuban state.

Read more on:    cuba  |  us

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