Venezuela releases imprisoned American after two years

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An American man was freed from captivity in Venezuela on Saturday after being imprisoned by the South American country for nearly two years, officials said.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, announced the release of Joshua Holt, 26, in a statement on Saturday and said that Holt and his wife Thamy Holt were on their way home to the United States.

Image: Joshua Holt and Thamara Holt
Joshua Holt with his wife, Thamara Candelo Holt, in an undated photo.Courtesy Holt Family
Venezuela releases imprisoned American after two years
Venezuela releases imprisoned American after two years

“Over the last two years I’ve worked with two Presidential administrations, countless diplomatic contacts, ambassadors from all over the world, a network of contacts in Venezuela, and President Maduro himself, and I could not be more honored to be able to reunite Josh with his sweet, long-suffering family in Riverton,” Hatch wrote.

Holt flew to Venezuela approximately two years ago to marry Thamy Holt, a Mormon woman he met online.

Venezuelan law enforcement allege that the American man had stockpiled weapons in his wife’s family’s apartment inside a public housing complex in Caracas, the nation’s capital. The two have been held without trial since they were arrested shortly after the wedding in 2016.

The State Department has called the weapons charges “questionable.”

President Donald Trump celebrated the announcement on Twitter calling it “good news.” His post noted that the formerly imprisoned couple were expected to land in Washington D.C. Saturday evening and meet Holt’s family at the White House.

“The great people of Utah will be very happy!” the president tweeted.

Looking forward to seeing Joshua Holt this evening in the White House. The great people of Utah are Celebrating!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2018

Holt’s release comes a little over a week after the native Utahn released two short videos on his Facebook page in which he said a prison riot was endangering his life. It is unclear how Holt gained access to a cellphone or the internet from El Helicoide, or the Helix, prison in Caracas.

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