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Trial for American jailed in Cuba set for March 4

By Shasta Darlington, CNN
  • Alan Gross was arrested in December 2009
  • He could face up to 20 years in prison

Havana, Cuba (CNN) -- American aid worker Alan Gross will face trial in Cuba on March 4, according to the U.S. Interest Section in Havana, in a case that is seen as one of the major obstacles to improving relations between the long-estranged countries.

Gross was arrested in December 2009 but only charged earlier this month. He could face up to 20 years in prison for "acts against the independence and territorial integrity" of Cuba.

Gross, a subcontractor for USAID, was working on a democracy promotion program that is illegal in Cuba. Authorities have said Gross was distributing illegal satellite equipment to help dissidents connect to the internet.

The U.S. State Department has said Gross was helping Jewish communities with their communication.

The Cuban government has said Gross' family and U.S. officials can attend the trial, although the venue is still not known.