HAVANA – Cuban prosecutors will seek a 20-year prison sentence for U.S. aid contractor Alan Gross, accused of crimes against the state, Communist Party newspaper Granma said on Friday, in a case that has stalled progress in U.S.-Cuba relations.

A government statement posted on the paper's website said Gross was accused of "Acts Against the Independence and Territorial Integrity of the State" and that a trial date for him would be set soon.

Gross, 61, has been detained since he was arrested at his Havana hotel in December 2009.

Cuban authorities have accused him in the past of illegally importing satellite communications equipment and possibly spying.

The government statement gave no details about the charge, but the Cuban law it referred to said that someone "who in the interest of a foreign state" commits an act detrimental to the independence of the Cuban state or its "territorial integrity" faces a jail sentence of 10 to 20 years or the death penalty.

The United States has said Gross was only providing satellite communications equipment and Internet access for Jewish groups in Cuba and was not a spy.

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