WASHINGTON (JTA) — Alan Gross expressed his gratitude to the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington for its efforts to secure his release from a Cuban prison.
Gross noted that he was “blown away” by the JCRC’s efforts, which have included weekly vigils outside the Cuban interest section in Washington.
The Washington JCRC has led national efforts on behalf of Gross, a contractor for the State Department who was connecting the island’s small Jewish community to the Internet when he was arrested in 2009. Gross was sentenced last year to 15 years in prison on espionage-related charges.
In a statement released Monday by the JCRC, Gross, who is allowed a single phone call to the United States each week, was quoted as saying, “It’s very comforting to know I’m not forgotten.”
“The great surprise to me is to say these words, because I worked so long for others. I truly appreciate it,” Gross was quoted as saying in the statement.
Gross, 63, spoke with the JCRC on May 18.