President Donald Trump on Saturday announced the release of a 26-year-old American prisoner who had been held in captivity in Venezuela for two years.
“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.,” Trump tweeted. “The great people of Utah will be very happy!”
The president also announced his plan to welcome Holt to the White House.
Josh Holt, a Mormon missionary from Utah, was in the country to marry a women he met online when he was arrested on weapons charges.
“Venezuelan authorities arrested Holt in June 2016 while he was in Venezuela for his wedding. His family says he was framed,” Reuters reported.
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch also announced Holt’s release on Twitter, saying they had worked for years to bring him back home.
“I’m please to announce that after two years of hard work, we’ve secured the release of Josh and Thamy Holt, who are now on their way to the United States from Venuzuela,” Hatch said in a statement.
“Over the last two years, I’ve worked with two Presidential Administrations, countless diplomatic contacts, ambassadors from all over the world, a network of contacts in Venezuela, and President Maduro himself, and I could not be more honored to be able to reunite Josh with his sweet, long-suffering family in Riverton.”
Hatch also thanked Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker for his help in securing Holt’s release.
“I want to thank Chairman Bob Corker for his pivotal efforts, and that of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for their help and effort,” he said.
Only one week ago, Holt posted a cell phone video he had recorded in a Caracas prison.
“I’ve been begging my government for two years. They say they’re doing things, but I’m still here,” Holt, said in the video on Wednesday, The Hill reported.
Holt also wrote a Facebook post last week, begging for his release.
“People here are dying we need help please send me help please send people to save me (sic),” he wrote. “Please my fellow Americans don’t allow me to continue suffering in Venezuela.”
In a statement posted to Facebook, Holt’s family members expressed their gratitude for their Holt’s release.
“We thank you for your collaboration during this time of anguish,” the statement read. “We are grateful to all who participated in this miracle.”
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