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Cuban Jewish community denies links with jailed U.S. contractor

12-02-2010 11:14 BJT

HAVANA, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Leaders of Jewish groups in Cuba denied on Wednesday they have any contact with jailed U.S. contractor Alan Gross, who was arrested a year ago over charges of spying.

Adela Dworin, vice president of the "Jewish Patronage," said, "I am very sorry for what happened to Gross," adding that "the saddest thing is that he wanted to engage the Jewish community, which is totally strange to his activities."

Mayra Levy, official from the Havana Sephardic Hebrew Center, said she had never met Gross and he never visited the institution.

Currently, some 1,500 Jews live in Cuba with most of them in the capital city.

Gross was arrested on Dec. 3, 2009, at the Havana airport for allegations of providing Internet satellite communication equipment to the anti-Castro groups based on the island.

Though he has been imprisoned for a year, he has not been officially charged yet.

U.S. calls for his release on humanitarian grounds and ensured that Gross was only providing Internet connection to the Cuban Jewish population.

The detainee's wife, Judy Gross, wrote in August to Cuban President Raul Castro to express regrets for her husband's work in Cuba. Cuban authorities have allowed Gross's wife to visit him at least once at a military hospital in Havana where he was detained.

Mrs. Gross has criticized the White House for not doing enough and described her husband as "a victim caught in the crossfire between the two foes of the old Cold War."

The U.S. State Department dismissed recently an alleged plan to exchange Gross with one of the five Cubans imprisoned since 1998 in the United States under espionage charges. The case has been handled by officials of both countries when they met in Havana and Washington on migration and other bilateral issues.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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