Raul Castros daughter calls for dual prisoner releases

The daughter of Cuba’s head of state, Raul Castro, said that jailed American Jewish contractor Alan Gross should be released in conjunction with the United States’ release of the so-called Cuban Five.

In an interview on CNN that aired June 4, Mariela Castro said: “Alan Gross has been granted everything that he’s asked for: He has been able to see his wife, he has been able to have matrimonial, conjugal visits, and he has been treated with respect and dignity the way we always treat prisoners in Cuba. We haven’t received the same treatment, on the other hand, for our five prisoners who have very long sentences that are not right. I think that the six must be released — both the five Cubans and Alan Gross.”

The Cuban Five are a group of intelligence officers being held in the United States for espionage crimes. Gross was arrested in 2009 and sentenced last year to 15 years on charges related to his distribution of communications equipment to the island’s small Jewish community.

A number of analysts have said that the Cuban government is detaining Gross in order to trade him for the Cuban Five. — jta