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American imprisoned in Cuba sues ex-employer

| Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, 9:14 p.m.

WASHINGTON — An American imprisoned in Cuba for nearly three years is suing his former Maryland employer and the federal government for $60 million, saying they did not adequately train him or disclose risks that he was undertaking by doing development work on the communist island.

Alan Gross and his wife, Judy, sued on Friday in federal court in Washington. The lawsuit alleges that the economic development company that Gross was working for in Cuba and the U.S. government, with which the company had a contract, failed to provide Gross “with the education and training that was necessary to minimize the risk of harm to him.”

Gross, 63, was arrested in December 2009 while on his fifth trip to Cuba. The trip was part of a project to increase the availability of Internet access in the country, particularly to the island's small Jewish community. Gross was working on the effort as a subcontractor for Development Alternatives Inc., an economic development company based in Bethesda, Md.

The company, known as DAI, was a contractor for the federal Agency for International Development, the government agency that provides economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide. USAID has been criticized by Cuba for seeking to promote democratic change on the island.

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