Published: Mon, May 28, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

American jailed in Venezuela for 2 years now on his way home

American jailed in Venezuela for 2 years now on his way home

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said on Twitter Saturday, May 26, 2018, that Joshua Holt had been released.

After expressing her appreciation to the president and United States officials Holt's mother Laurie added: "I also want to say thank you to President Maduro for releasing Josh and letting him come home".

In a statement on Facebook, Holt's family gave thanks "to all who participated in this miracle", but asked to be allowed to meet him and his wife before giving any further statements or interviews.

Josh Holt, the man with ties to Pocatello, and his wife Thamy has been released from a Venezuelan jail. Venezuela has held Holt and his wife on weapons charges without a trial since 2016.

Utah Representative Mia Love also welcomed Holt and thanked President Trump for his efforts on guaranteeing his release. In June of that year, he was arrested by the government, which accused him - with the help of planted evidence, observers say - of stockpiling weapons as part of an American efforts to topple the government of President Nicolas Maduro. Josh Holt has been released from a jail in Venezuela after spending almost two years behind bars on weapons charges. ". And I could not be more honored to be able to reunite Josh and his sweet, long suffering family in Riverton". Very proud. And we have others coming. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, arrived at Dulles Airport Saturday evening. Trump said in a tweet. That prompted the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela to express concern that Holt and other Americans in the prison might be in danger.

Months of secret, backchannel talks between an aide to Mr Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and close allies of Mr Maduro preceded their return. "They want to kill me and paint the walls with my blood".

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Politicians from Utah, including Senator Hatch, advocated for Holt's release.

Holt, who had changed from his blue jeans into a navy blue suit and tie for the White House visit, looked calm and at ease sitting next to Trump. Holt and his wife were jailed for almost two years on weapons charges that USA officials consider bogus. "The United States stands steadfast in support of the Venezuelan people and their efforts to return to democracy".

Within hours of being freed from a Venezuelan jail, Josh Holt was in the Oval Office shaking hands with President Trump.

Mr. Holt said that he was "overwhelmed with gratitude". Relations between the U.S. and Venezuela have been strained recently, particularly over the election which last week returned Maduro to power.

After Nicolas Maduro was re-elected president for a second, six-year term Sunday, Vice President Pence called the vote a "sham", and the Trump administration imposed new sanctions. On Friday, the government freed 20 political prisoners in the interior state of Zulia.

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