Alan Gross, a former USAID contractor serving a 15-year prison sentence in Cuba, “plans to end his life” in order to end the agony he’s suffered in his four years behind bars, his lawyer said.
Mr. Gross, who was accused in 2011 of being an American spy, began a hunger strike in April to protest his imprisonment, only ending it after receiving a request from his mother, who died from cancer last week, The Associated Press reported.
“I am extremely worried that Alan is going to do something drastic now that his mother is gone,” his wife, Judy Gross, said in Havana on Wednesday. “My husband and I need President Obama to do everything in his power to end this nightmare and bring Alan home from Cuba now.”
“He has lost more than 100 pounds, is losing vision in his right eye, and both of his hips are failing,” she said.
The family’s lawyer, Scott Gilbert, also expressed concern that Mr. Gross would try to commit suicide.
A former Cuban spy urged President Obama earlier this month to trade three Cuban prisoners for Mr. Gross, citing the administration’s Guantanamo prisoner exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Havana has suggested that it would release Mr. Gross in exchange for three of the remaining “Cuban Five” intelligence agents, who were convicted in a 1998 U.S. spy case. The swap was reportedly first proposed by a Cuban diplomat in May 2012, which Washington swiftly rejected.
Mrs. Gross said the United States should consider the swap.
“If we can trade five members of the Taliban to bring home one American soldier,” she said, “surely we can figure out a path forward to bring home one American citizen from a Cuban prison.”