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U.S. Contractor Convicted In Cuba

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HAVANA, Cuba (CBS4) – U.S. contractor Alan Gross was found guilty of crimes against the state by a Cuban court Saturday afternoon. He was immediately sentenced to 15 years in prison by the court.

Prosecutors said Gross, 61, was working on a program paid for by the United States that sought to bring down the communist Cuban government.

Gross was arrested in December 2009 as he worked on a USAID backed democracy-building project. The U.S. government said he was working to improve Internet access for the island’s Jewish community and should be released.

But the Cuban government said Gross’ work proved that the federal government continues to work to overthrow the Castro government in Cuba.

The court said the evidence “demonstrated the participation of the North American contractor in a subversive project of the U.S. government that aimed to destroy the Revolution through the use of communications systems out of the control of authorities.”

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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