WASHINGTON (WJZ) — A Maryland man imprisoned in Cuba for nearly five years is once again trying to sue the U.S. government. Alan Gross was working as a U.S. contractor when he was arrested and convicted of being a spy.

Now Gross’ lawyers are back in court, claiming the U.S. government should have prevented this from happening.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the legal battle.

He’s been locked behind bars inside a Cuban prison for nearly five years. Family members say Alan Gross is losing hope that he’ll ever be free.

“He was a contractor working for the United States government. And Alan has said he feels like he has just been left in the field and forgotten about,” his wife, Judy Gross, said.

Gross, an international aid worker with USAID, was setting up internet services for the Jewish community in Havana when he was arrested in 2009. Now he is appealing a lawsuit he filed against the U.S. government.

Friday, in front of a three judge appeals panel, Gross’ lawyers argued he was sent to Cuba without proper training and protection. As he sits in jail, attorneys say Gross’ health has taken a turn for the worse.

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

During a June visit to Cuba, Judy Gross says her husband vowed to take his own life rather than spend more time behind bars.

“He’s just very, very depressed and very hopeless and talking about doing something drastic because he refuses to stay where he is,” his wife said.

Gross still has ten years left on his prison sentence.

A judge threw out Gross’ lawsuit against the government last year. A suit against the contractor Gross was working for was settled out of court.

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