Md. Man Held In Cuban Prison Says He Will Leave This Year– Dead Or Alive

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Alan Gross
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Linh Bui joined WJZ Eyewitness News in July 2013 as a weekend anchor...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A Maryland man imprisoned in Cuba says he will return home within a year either dead or alive.

Linh Bui has his desperate plea for freedom.

Alan Gross faces 11 more years in prison. But he’s in very poor health and is vowing to get out.

The Montgomery County resident has spent the last five years in a Cuban prison.

The 64-year-old was arrested in 2009 while working to set up Internet access for the Jewish community in Havana.

Cuba claimed the U.S. contractor was spying and sentenced him to 15 years.

His attorney Scott Gilbert visited Gross in Cuba, saying prison has taken a toll on his client’s health.

“He has lost most vision in his right eye. He is missing a tooth. When he walks he limps because of his hips. He has lost nearly 110 pounds,” Gilbert said.

Gross ended a nine-day hunger strike this month.

He was protesting his treatment by the United States and Cuban governments.

Gross says he’s angry and frustrated.

Cuba has offered to enter talks but wants the release of three Cuban agents serving time in the United States.

However the United States has rejected any trade of Cuban agents for Gross.

A state department spokesperson claims Gross’ case is a priority.

“His health and safety and well-being are on our minds everyday, and that’s why we’re working so hard to secure his return,” said Jen Psaki, state department spokesperson.

May 2 is Gross’ 65th birthday. It’ll be the last one he says he’ll celebrate in Cuba–one way or another.

“Alan means what he says, which is that one year from now, if this issue has been resolved, he will come home to his family. If it has not been resolved, he will come home dead,” Gilbert said.

No formal talks have taken place between the United States and Cuba about Gross’ release.

Gross has pledged to renew his hunger strike but says he remains hopeful about his future.

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