Utah man begs for help from inside Venezuelan prison

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But people with close links to the political prisoners held there said the uprising had started after Gregory Sanabria was beaten up, allegedly by a non-political prisoner.

Today, I learned Josh Holt was enduring a riot situation in his Venezuelan jail.

The 26-year-old traveled to Venezuela in 2016 to marry a fellow Mormon he met on the internet. Shortly afterward, the couple was arrested at her household's condominium after police alleged he was stockpiling weapons.

Authorities of Venezuela claim that Holt was working with the USA government to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro, a plan they say involved him and his wife stockpiling weapons. "The Venezuelan government is directly responsible for its security and we will hold it responsible if something happens to them".

A Utah man imprisoned in Venezuela for two years without trial has made an emotional plea for help, saying in clandestinely shot videos that a prison riot is underway and his life is at risk.

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. They are outside. They are trying to break in. "They are saying that they want me as their guarantee".

They say they did so after a political prisoner was beaten. "They say they're doing things, but I'm still here", Holt said.

Rights groups and Maduro's opponents have said several hundred political prisoners have been unfairly jailed. While he didn't provide details about the disturbance, or what sparked it, he said on Twitter that the delegates offered to coordinate with prison and judicial authorities to address the demands of inmates at El Helicoide, which is the headquarters of the feared Sebin intelligence police.

The US embassy in Caracas tweeted that it was "very anxious about the rebellion". Holt denies the charges.

"I need... I am calling on the people of America, I need your help to get me out of this place".

Mr Ceballos, the former opposition mayor of the western city of San Cristóbal, said the inmates had taken control of parts of the jail.

Amid statements of concern by Utah's congressional delegation, Todd Robinson, the top American diplomat in Venezuela, went to the foreign ministry to seek information about Holt.

"The life of Joshua Holt is in danger and we call again on the government to release him for humanitarian reasons", the embassy wrote in Spanish.

Todd Robinson, the chargé d'affaires at the United States embassy, went to the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry for information, the embassy added but there was, 'no response from the government'.

Senator Orrin Hatch has been working with the Trump Administration to bring Holt and his wife home.

"The Government of Venezuela is directly responsible for their safety and will be held responsible if anything happens to them".

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