44 senators write Cuban president about Md. man

JESSICA GRESKO
FILE - In this file handout photo provided by the Gross family shows Alan and Judy Gross. Forty-four senators have written to Cuba's president to call for the release of a Maryland man imprisoned in Cuba for almost three years. The one-page letter released Tuesday is signed by 34 Democrats, nine Republicans and independent Joseph Lieberman. It says that the detention of Alan Gross is a major obstacle to improving relations between Cuba and the United States. (AP Photo/Gross Family, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Forty-four senators have written to Cuba's president to call for the release of a Maryland man imprisoned in Cuba for almost three years.

The one-page letter released Tuesday is signed by 34 Democrats, nine Republicans and independent Joseph Lieberman. It says that the detention of Alan Gross is a major obstacle to improving relations between Cuba and the United States.

Gross was working as a U.S. government contractor when he was arrested in 2009. The 63-year-old was sentenced to a 15-year prison term for crimes against the state after he brought restricted communications equipment to the communist island nation while on a democracy-building program.

Among the letter's signatories are both of Maryland's senators, Democrats Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski.