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Van Hollen Meets with Potomac Man in Cuban Prison

Rep. Christopher Van Hollen met with Alan Gross in a Cuban prison, where Gross has been detained for more than three years.

Alan Gross, of Potomac, met with Rep. Christopher Van Hollen (D-Kensington) on Tuesday in Cuba, where Gross has been detained in prison for more than three years.

"Van Hollen met with Gross while on an official congressional trip to Cuba led by Sen. Patrick Leahy" (D-VT), The Washington Post reported.

"We discussed a wide range of issues, and I assured him we were doing everything possible to secure his immediate release," Van Hollen said in a statement.

"I indicated to President Raul Castro that the release of Mr. Gross is essential if we are going to improve the relationship between the United States and Cuba—something I believe is in the interest of both of our countries," Van Hollen added.

Three years ago last December, Gross was sentenced to 15 years in prison after a Cuban court convicted him of working for U.S. government intelligence. Gross and his supporters maintain he was in Cuba working as a U.S. contractor to bring cell phones and computers to the country, Potomac Patch reported.

His wife, Judy Gross, is calling for her husband’s release on humanitarian grounds and continues to petition the U.S. government to intervene. 

"According to Judy Gross, her husband has developed a growth on his right shoulder and has lost more than 100 pounds in prison, the result, she fears, of some type of cancer," WUSA9 reported

Van Hollen and the White House appealed for Gross' release during trial and sentencing, and Van Hollen and Sen. Ben Cardin spoke on the floors of the U.S. Senate and House in December 2011 to urge the U.S. to put pressure on the Cuban government to release Alan Gross, Patch reported.

Read more about Van Hollen's visit with Gross on The Washington Post's website.

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