After mother's death, jailed American Alan Gross visited by wife in Cuba

Judy Gross, the wife of jailed US contractor Alan Gross, after arriving in Cuba Tuesday to visit her husband and plead with Cuban government officials to release him from prison. Gross is serving a 15 year sentence for importing banned satellite communications equipment to the island.

Story highlights

  • Alan Gross' wife, Judy, visits husband in Cuba a week after his mother's death
  • The U.S. State Department contractor offered to return to jail after a goodbye visit
  • The Cuban government denied his request, saying inmates can't travel abroad
  • Gross is serving a 15-year sentence for bring satellite equipment to island
The wife of imprisoned U.S. State Department contractor Alan Gross traveled to Cuba Tuesday as part of her ongoing effort to free her husband.
Judy Gross did not talk to a CNN reporter outside Havana's Jose Marti International Airport, and she and Gross' attorney quickly boarded a bus provided by the Cuban government.
Last week, Gross' mother died after a long fight with cancer, Gross' attorney, Scott Gilbert, said.
The Cuban government refused Gross' request to travel to the United States to say goodbye to Evelyn Gross before she died. Gross had promised that after seeing his mother he would return to his prison cell at a military hospital in Havana.
"We would like to convey our heartfelt condolences to his relatives," Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs official Josefina Vidal said in a statement. "It is necessary to clarify that neither the Cuban penitentiary system nor the U.S. penitentiary system provide the possibility for inmates to travel abroad, no matter the reason. "
Gross, 65, is serving a 15-year sentence for bringing satellite communications equipment to Cuba as part of his work as a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development. He was convicted in March 2011.
U.S. officials said Gross was merely trying to help Cubans bypass the island's stringent restrictions on Internet access and have said his imprisonment is one of the major obstacles to improved relations with Cuba.