Torture in Cuba
November 2012
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Posted on Sunday, 11.11.12

Lawyer for US man writes UN anti-torture expert


Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A lawyer for an American man imprisoned in Cuba has

written the United Nations' anti-torture expert, saying Cuban officials'

treatment of his client "will surely amount to torture" if he continues

to be denied certain medical care.

The six-page letter made public Sunday is addressed to U.N. Special

Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez. In it, a lawyer for former

Maryland resident Alan claims Cuba has not met its obligations

under an anti-torture treaty it agreed to more than a decade ago.

Gross, 63, has lost more than 100 pounds while imprisoned, and earlier

this year he developed a mass behind his right shoulder. Cuban doctors

performed tests, but a U.S. doctor who reviewed them for Gross' family

has said they were inadequate. Dr. Alan A. Cohen, a Maryland

radiologist, said the mass must be assumed to be cancerous unless proved


"The lack of medical clarity given to Mr. Gross by the Cubans has been

causing him severe mental anxiety for six months and counting," wrote

Gross' Washington-based lawyer Jared Genser. "As time goes on, and

depending on the severity of his illness, the denial of medical care

will surely amount to torture."

Genser attached to his letter answers to a U.N. form questionnaire for

people alleging torture. In it, he wrote the torture occurred from May

2012 to the present – the time that Gross has had the mass on his shoulder.

A senior Cuban diplomat, Foreign Ministry official Josefina Vidal, said

in September that Gross' "continues to be normal and he exercises


Gross has been imprisoned in Cuba since late 2009. He was working as a

subcontractor on a USAID-funded democracy building program when he was

, and his case has become a source of tension in U.S.-Cuba


He is now serving a 15-year sentence. Gross says he was only

trying to provide service to Cuba's small Jewish community.

Cuba says the multimillion-dollar programs are an effort by Washington

to undermine the government, and has noted that Gross was carrying

sophisticated communications equipment.

Gross' lawyer has for months said his client's health is declining, and

he and Gross' wife have called on the Cuban government to let Gross be

examined by a doctor of their choice.

Gross' wife, Judy, was traveling to West Palm Beach, Florida, on Sunday

for a rally in support of her husband's release. The rally was scheduled

outside a performance of the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba, which

is currently making its first U.S. tour.

Also on Sunday, Gross' lawyer made public a letter addressed to Cuban

and signed by more than 500 rabbis. The letter

urges Castro to release Gross, who is Jewish, on humanitarian grounds.

Dec. 3 will mark three years that Gross has been held in Cuba.

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