Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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Freeing Alan Gross: U.S. Works With Cuba to Free American Jailed Over Espionage Charges

Alan Gross

(Photo : Reuters) Alan Gross and his wife Judy pose with their daughters during a Friday Shabbat dinner in an undated photo.

Alan Gross was arrested in Cuba over espionage charges and has been behind bars for five years now. His fast physical and mental health deterioration has prompted the U.S. to work with Cuba to negotiate his freedom.

The 65-year-old reportedly lost more than 100 pounds last spring but the latest information about him suggests that his health has increasingly deteriorated. The United States government contractor has already lost all of his teeth except one of his two front teeth, can barely walk because of a hip injury and has one blind eye.

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Also, Gross no longer accepts visits or food from the U.S. Interest Section and does not want to avail of any medical or dental care from the Cuban military hospital. Due to his inability to walk, he stays in his cell the whole day with two other prisoners who do not speak English at all.

He has then threatened to launch a hunger strike this December if he will not be released, stressing that he will not spend another year being held captive. He is determined to do it even if it means he will die of hunger.

"Enough is enough. My husband has paid a terrible price for serving his country and community," according to Judy, Alan's wife. "Alan is resolved that he will not endure another year imprisoned in Cuba, and I am afraid that we are at the end."

Judy said Gross is done "wasting away" for five years and President Barack Obama now has to do something to bring her husband back home before it is too late.

Gross has been sentenced to serve 15 years since his captivity in 2011 when he was caught bringing in telecommunication devices into the said country. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest released a statement saying that they are aware of the condition of Gross and are now working on a solution for his release.

Cuban officials also released a statement saying that they are also concerned about the deteriorating health of Alan Gross but emphasized on his refusal to receive medical help from their military. 

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