American prisoner ends hunger strike at mother's urge

HAVANA, Cuba (WUSA9) -- An American prisoner is ending his hunger strike in Cuba at the request of his mother.

Alan Gross, a Montgomery County, Md. native, has been has been imprisoned in Cuba for four years and four months. He wrote that he began fasting Tuesday "to object to mistruths, deceptions, and inaction by both governments."

Gross, a Jewish-American, announced Friday he was suspending his fast because his mother asked him to stop. She will be 92 years old on April 15, the first day of Passover.

"My protest fast is suspended as of today, although there will be further protests to come. There will be no cause for further intense protest when both governments show more concern for human beings and less malice and derision toward each other," he said in a statement through his attorney.

Gross was arrested in Cuba in 2009 while working quietly in the Communist-run country to set up Internet access for the island's small Jewish community. At the time, Gross was working as a subcontractor for the U.S. government's U.S. Agency for International Development. Cuba considers USAID's programs illegal attempts by the U.S. to undermine its government, and Gross was ultimately sentenced to 15 years in prison.


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