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Jailed American Aims to Leave Cuba 'Dead or Alive'

Scott Gilbert, lawyer for jailed U.S. contractor Alan Gross, talks to the media in front of the colonial-era Morro Cabanas fortress in Havana, Cuba, April 23, 2014.
The lawyer for Alan Gross, the American subcontractor jailed in Cuba, says his client aims to return to the United States within a year "dead or alive."

Speaking to reporters Wednesday in Havana after visiting Gross, attorney Scott Gilbert said his client has lost some vision in his right eye, walks with a limp due to hip problems, has lost a tooth and is 50 kilograms lighter than at the time of his arrest.

According to Gilbert, Gross had said his 65th birthday, which occurs on May 2, will be the last birthday that he celebrates in Havana, "one way or the other."

Gross was arrested in 2009 after he was caught setting up hard-to-detect Internet networks under a U.S. government contract.

Cuba considers such programs to be an affront to its sovereignty. Gross was tried, convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison for crimes against the state.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said U.S. officials are "extremely concerned" about Gross' case.

Gilbert urged Washington to do more to free Gross, who has specifically asked for President Barack Obama to become personally involved with the case.