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Utah man imprisoned in Venezuela in ‘dire medical situation,’ family says

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CARACAS, Venezuela (News4Utah) – A Utah man imprisoned in Venezuela has taken ill and his family is begging officials to allow him to come home.

Josh Holt traveled to Venezuela in 2016 to get married, but he and his new wife Thamara Candela were arrested and accused of illegal possession of weapons. The Holt family has always maintained their innocence and says they are being wrongfully imprisoned.  

His mother Lori released the following statement Monday.

“Sadly. today our son Josh Holt found himself again in a dire medical situation. Regardless of the court order approving his transport to a medical facility to receive proper medical care, the prison’s directors under the instructions of high government officials, keep denying him the transfer to such facility… Josh is in a delicate state and therefore we ask again that Venezuela releases him under humanitarian grounds immediately or in the alternative that our leaders in the U.S. Government double their efforts in bringing him home before it is too late.”

Senator Orrin Hatch joined Laurie Holt in calling on the Maduro government to comply with court orders allowing Josh to receive medical attention following reports that he had fallen ill in his Venezuelan prison cell. 

“It’s beyond inhumane to deny a court order allowing Josh to receive the urgent medical care he needs,” Hatch said in a statement released Monday evening. “I call on the Maduro government to see that Josh is able to receive immediate medical attention as we continue to work towards his release on humanitarian grounds.”

Senator Hatch has been working with the Holt family, the Trump administration, and previously the Obama administration towards Josh’s release from prison for more than a year. His office says he will continue to work behind the scenes to return Josh to his family in Riverton.

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