Utah hostage Josh Holt released from Venezuelan prison

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 26, 2018

Holt's wife, Thamy, has also been released, Hatch said.

President Trump is celebrating the release of an American hostage from a Venezuelan prison.

A Utah man jailed in Venezuela on weapons charges almost two years ago was released Saturday after USA officials and his family pressed for his freedom from the South American country.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who has advocated for Holt's release, said he's "honored" to be able to finally reunite the Utah native with his family. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, met with Venezuela's president, Nicolas Maduro, on Friday, two days after the embattled socialist leader kicked out the top USA diplomat in the country.

Holt and his family have always maintained his innocence, saying he traveled to Venezuela in June 2016 to marry Thamara Caleño, a fellow Mormon whom he met on a religious dating site. The police said they found a hand grenade and automatic weapons at the home, but eyewitnesses to the arrest told the Miami Herald that the evidence had been planted.

Mr. Holt's release also comes just days after he posted two short videos to Facebook pleading for the United States government to help him. "They say that they are doing things, but I'm still here and now my life is threatened". Holt planned to return to the United States with his new wife and two stepchildren, but they never made it back. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted he is "very happy for Josh Holt & his family".

On Saturday, the president tweeted that Joshua Holt was released, and will be landing in the capital later today. "I'm thrilled and relieved for the family, and grateful for all the hard work that's been done to get Josh home". In their statement, the Holt family said, "We thank you for your collaboration during this time of anguish".

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