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US asks Pope to help in Alan Gross case
US seeks papal intervention in case of detained American In Cuba
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' The Obama administration is asking Pope Benedict XVI to raise with Cuban officials the case of American contractor Alan Gross, jailed on suspicion of espionage.

The State Department said Wednesday it made the request to the Vatican and the papal nuncio in Washington before the Pope arrived in Cuba this week.

Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. would be "very grateful" if the Pope raised the case. She added it would be a "good thing" if Cuba used the papal visit to release him.



A Vatican spokesman said Wednesday the pontiff had made "requests of a humanitarian nature" but did not know if individual cases were discussed. Gross has been sentenced in Cuba to 15 years in prison on spy charges that he and the U.S. government deny.


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