Monday, 24 September, 2018


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

American jailed in Venezuela without trial pleads for help amid prison riot American jailed in Venezuela without trial pleads for help amid prison riot
Bennie Garza | 17 May, 2018, 13:12

"I need help. So they've taken the entire prison where I'm at".

Joshua Holt, a USA citizen and Mormon missionary, posted on his Facebook page around 3:00 pm EST, "Helicoide the prison where I am at has fallen the guards are here and people are trying to break in my room and kill me". Embattled head of state Nicolas Maduro, running for a second six-year period, is expected to win, having the banned the Opposition party and candidates and running against hand-picked candidates, amidst repression, vast censorship and widespread vote-buying, with the government conditioning sales of subsidized food and the adjudication of several bonuses to pro-Maduro votes on Sunday.

"Please my fellow Americans don't allow me to continue suffering in Venezuela", Mr Holt said in a written message, also posted on his Facebook page.

Holt, of Riverton, has been incarcerated in Venezuela since 2016 after he traveled there to marry his fiance.

Josh Holt, 26, can be seen in a Facebook video pleading for help from the USA government after claiming that the prison "has fallen" to people wanting to kill him. His family has said he was in the wrong place at the wrong time of a raid in the Caracas neighborhood where his wife's family lives. They're outside, they're trying to break in.

Venezuelan news media reported that political prisoners there are demanding an end to what they called torture and mistreatment of detainees, saying some inmates are minors and others are being held even though they have not been prosecuted. They're saying they want to kill me.

"In the face of the events that happened today in the Sebin headquarters at the Helicoide, we sent a commission of the prosecutor's office to the facility".

"I'm calling on the people of America".

Tensions between the USA and Venezuela have risen as President Donald Trump's administration considers further sanctions on the country, this time on oil.

Rights groups and Maduro opponents have said several hundred political prisoners were unfairly jailed, while Maduro has said all jailed activists were being held on legitimate charges of violence and subversion.

Loud voices outside Holt's cell can be heard in both videos. The embassy tweeted that Venezuela's government is responsible for the safety of prisoners and will be held accountable if something happens.

Venezuela's Information Ministry did not respond to a request for comment, but its chief prosecutor said in a tweet that his office was on site, without providing details.

"Joshua Holt and other USA citizens are in danger".

"We renew our call for the Government to release Joshua Holt on humanitarian grounds".

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