American jailed in Venezuela without trial pleads for help amid prison riot

17 May, 2018, 07:12 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Utahn Josh Holt 'doing OK' after riot at his Venezuelan prison, he says in new video

A Utah man who has been jailed in Venezuela since 2016 after authorities accused him and his wife of possessing firearms has made pleas on Facebook claiming that the prison he is incarcerated in has been taken over by people trying to kill him.

"This has been taken over peacefully by all the political prisoners and all the prisoners who are abducted here, who are tortured daily", a man said in one of the videos.

There was no official information on the incident and family members said they were in the dark about what was happening at the Helicoide, headquarters of intelligence agency Sebin, where several hundred people are behind bars.

Shortly afterward, the couple was arrested at her family's apartment in a Caracas public housing project after police said they found him stockpiling arms - an assault weapon and grenades. He appeared with a bruised face in pictures on social media.

In another video on social media, Joshua Holt, a USA citizen and Mormon missionary whose family has said he was framed on weapons charges while in Venezuela for his wedding, pleaded to be set free.

"They're outside", he says, "They're trying to break in".

"I've been begging my Government for two years. They say that they are doing things, but I'm still here and now my life is threatened". "They're trying to kill me".

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Trujillo declined to discuss how Holt was posting videos on his Facebook page, saying Holt's safety was in jeopardy and he didn't want to release any information that may harm him. Venezuela's chief prosecutor said his office was on site, but did not provide details.

Loud voices outside Holt's cell can be heard in both videos.

In the videos, Holt also called on Americans to step up to get him out, since he's been asking the government for help for years to no avail.

"We are concerned about the riot at El Helicoide", Mr Robinson said in a statement, referring to the helix-shaped building where Maduro's top opponents are being held.

A third video shows a U.S. citizen, John Holt, who was arrested in Caracas in 2016 and has yet to be tried.

His family has denied the accusations, and believe the Venezuelan government is holding Holt and his wife to bargain with the US, which has imposed economic sanctions on the country. "The Venezuelan government is directly responsible for their security and we will hold them responsible if anything happens to them", the embassy tweeted in Spanish.

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