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Trapped in a Venezuelan prison riot

18 May, 2018, 09:28 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Relatives of inmates react outside a detention center of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service, where a riot occurred according to relatives in Caracas

"I am not a political pawn i am a human being a child of God and I just want to live happy with my wife and children".

"How long do I have to suffer here?" He moved in with her in the outskirts of Caracas while they waited for her visa to arrive so they could move to the USA with her two daughters, NPR reported past year after speaking to Holt's mother.

The 26-year-old travelled to the South American country in 2016 to marry a fellow Mormon he met online, but the couple were arrested shortly afterwards when police claimed to have found him stockpiling armaments, including an assault rifle and grenades.

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Mia Love are among the politicians who have championed Holt's cause.

An American inmate caught up in a Venezuela prison riot has released harrowing video footage pleading for his life. His attorney, Carlos Trujillo, has previously said that his imprisonment might be related to USA prosecutors convicting two nephews of Venezuela's first lady, Cilia Flores, on charges of drug trafficking, according to the Tribune.

Venezuelan outlet RunRunes reported that "the Justice and Peace Commission of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference (CEV) showed up at 11 p.m. on Wednesday at the headquarters of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Sebin) to verify the status of the detainees in The Helicoide at the request of the relatives of the prisoners who were protesting from early hours of the day, until late hours of the morning of this Thursday, May 17".

"We're very anxious about the riot in El Helicoide. Joshua Holt and other American citizens are in danger", the embassy wrote on Twitter in Spanish on Wednesday.

Laurie Holt told the Deseret News that her son appeared to be safe as of Wednesday night.

"I'm here to show you that I am not being kidnapped", Holt says in the video, which he didn't post to his Facebook account.

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Rubio, who has been highly critical of the Venezuelan government, denounced diplomatic back channels between the United States and Venezuela in March, describing them as leverage created to trade Holt for US concessions over sanctions. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), declined to comment on how the senator's public remarks may have shaped diplomatic negotiations but said Holt "is an innocent man who is being held as a hostage and should be released immediately".

Security forces are seen Thursday at the entrance of the Helicoide, a detention center in Caracas, Venezuela.

Maduro is expected to be re-elected this weekend despite the crisis.

His first-ever video message from jail came amid what the US Government described as a riot by fellow inmates, including some of President Nicolas Maduro's top opponents who are being held alongside the American.

The Helicoide, carved into a central Caracas hillside, was conceived as a modern mall in the 1950s.

In a previous video, Holt said that he - like numerous prisoners - had been held for years without going to trial. The couple settled into the apartment in Caracas where Holt's new bride lived with her daughters while they awaited USA visas, according to NBC News.

Diosdado Cabello, leader of the Venezuelan Socialist Party, has accused Holt of being a United States agent and the country's top spy in Latin America, but he has not yet been put on trial.

On Wednesday, US charge d'affaires Todd Robinson reportedly made a visit to Venezuela's Foreign Ministry to meet with Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, though no further details are yet known.

On Thursday, the inmates demanded the release of all political prisoners in the country and due process for the 265 confined at the Helicoide, according to a count conducted inside and circulated on Instagram by prisoner and activist Lorent Saleh.


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