US rabbi visits jailed American, reports he is in good health

The Associated Press

HAVANA - A prominent rabbi and physician says an American jailed in Cuba is in good health and a growth on his right shoulder appears benign.

Rabbi Elie Abadie, who is also a gastroenterologist, says he met for more than two hours with Maryland-native Alan Gross.

Abadie told The Associated Press following Tuesday's meeting that there was apparently "no truth to" rumours that Cuba would soon release Gross.

Gross was imprisoned in December 2009. At the time he was working as a subcontractor on a democracy-building project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Cuba considers such programs an affront to its national security, and in 2011 he was sentenced to 15 years for crimes against the state. His family has appealed for his release on humanitarian grounds.