Court: Gov't Must Decide On Furlough For Alan Gross
A decision on whether to allow jailed U.S. contractor Alan Gross to visit his terminally ill mother rests with the Cuban government, the Communist-ruled island’s top judge said.
“We don’t have the request in the tribunal, we are not evaluating the request in the tribunal. It’s a request that has been made at the level of state and government and it is up to those authorities to speak out on it,” the chief justice of the Supreme People’s Tribunal, Ruben Remigio Ferro, told reporters in Havana.
Gross’ request “is not a judicial matter as such,” he said at the opening of the 6th International Justice and Law Encounter.
“The issue of exit permits for someone who is serving a sentence, as is the case of Mr. Gross, is an issue that is handled at the governmental level,” Ferro said.
Now 63, Gross was arrested in Havana on Dec. 3, 2009, in possession of satellite communications equipment he said he was planning to distribute among Cuba’s Jewish community.
Havana says he was illegally aiding dissidents and inciting subversion. Last August, Cuba’s highest court upheld the 15-year prison sentence imposed on Gross, who was in Havana as part of a contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development.
In March, Gross wrote a letter to Cuban President Raul Castro seeking a two-week furlough from prison to visit his dying mother in the United States.