An American man jailed in Venezuela for more than 18 months without trial will be reunited with his family when he lands in Washington DC today, US President Donald Trump has said.
Utah man Joshua Holt and his wife Thamy have been in a Venezuelan prison since 2016 after being arrested for firearm offences. The US government had feared for the life of the 26-year-old Mormon missionary and his wife, who were both in the custody of SEBIN, the Venezuelan intelligence agency, in Caracas.
The couple are now scheduled to meet their family at the White House on Saturday evening. US President Donald Trump made the announcement on Twitter, one day after US Senator Bob Corker met with Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, the head of the country’s Socialist Party.
Good news about the release of the American hostage from Venezuela. Should be landing in D.C. this evening and be in the White House, with his family, at about 7:00 P.M. The great people of Utah will be very happy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2018
On May 17, Holt issued a plea on Facebook, asking the US government to help him return home.
“I’m publishing this video saying everyone is fine here, I’m doing okay. I just want to ask and plead once again to my government, to my people, to my senators and to everyone in the US to please not leave me alone here,” he said in the clip. “Please come and save my wife and myself.”
US authorities had been denied access to a court hearing on Holt’s case in December, with Trump labelling the US citizen a “hostage” of the Venezuela administration.
Republican Senator Orrin Hatch said the repatriation took the work of “countless diplomats, ambassadors from all over the world, a network of contacts in Venezuela, and President Maduro himself.”
The Utah senator added: “I could not be more honored to be able to reunite Josh with his sweet, long-suffering family in Riverton.”
Last week, the US government denounced as a “sham” Maduro’s recent victory in elections, in which he secured six more years in office. Venezuela has since expelled a US diplomat based in the capital Caracas for allegedly ‘conspiring’ against the government.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!