MARYLAND

44 Senators call for Alan Gross release

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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.

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