WASHINGTON (JTA) — The wife of Alan Gross said after visiting him in Cuba that the jailed contractor’s health continues to deteriorate.
"While his spirit remains strong, I fear he is not going to survive this terrible ordeal," Judy Gross said in a statement released by the family’s lawyers Tuesday, just after she returned from a four-day trip to Cuba.
Cuban authorities insist that Gross is in "normal" health. He reportedly has lost more than 100 pounds since his arrest in 2009 and his family says he is suffering from degenerative arthritis. His mother is dying and one of his daughters is battling cancer.
Gross, 63, of Potomac, Md., was sentenced last year to 15 years in prison for "crimes against the state." He was arrested in 2009 for allegedly bringing satellite phones and computer equipment to members of Cuba’s Jewish community.
On Tuesday, Gross’ legal team filed a petition to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention seeking a finding that Gross’ detention is "in violation of Cuba’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a treaty which guarantees the right to freedom of expression, including the right to receive and disseminate information freely through any media of choice."