Monday, 21 May, 2018

Inmates revolt at Venezuela detention centre, Utah man pleads for help

Prison where Josh Holt is being held captive reportedly under attack Utah man in Venezuelan jail says prison 'has fallen' by people wanting to kill him
Melinda Barton | 17 May, 2018, 12:44

"This afternoon, my office confirmed that the Venezuelan jail where Joshua Holt is being held was being threatened by riots and violence".

Holt was arrested after traveling to Venezuela in the summer of 2016 to marry a woman, a Venezuelan native, who he had met on a dating website.

Josh Holt, 26, made multiple post on his Facebook, including two videos, claiming that the prison "has fallen" to unidentified people that are trying to kill him. They're saying they want to kill me. "This has been taken over peacefully by all the political prisoners and all the prisoners who are abducted here, who are tortured daily", a man said in one of the videos. Venezuela's chief prosecutor despatched a fee to the jail to debate the prisoners' calls for. In two 20-second videos shot on a cell phone, a visibly distraught Joshua Holt suggested that his patience is running out with the US government, which has made his release a top priority in its dealings with Venezuela's socialist government.

While he did not provide details about the disturbance, or what sparked it, he said the delegates offered to coordinate with prison and judicial authorities to address the inmates' demands.

In videos posted on social media, Venezuelan activists, including a man identified as Sanabria whose face was bruised, pleaded for help.

The inmates were demanding due process rights like speedier hearings and the immediate freedom for prisoners who have received a judge's release order.

There was no official information on the incident and family members said they were in the dark about what was happening at the Helicoide, headquarters of intelligence agency Sebin, where several hundred people are behind bars.

Prison where Josh Holt is being held captive reportedly under attack

Later, socialist party leader Diosdado Cabello accused the inmates of staging the revolt to spread intrigue ahead of the election.

The U.S. embassy in Caracas said it was "very worried" about the situation at the Helicoide.

In the second video, Holt continues by "calling on the people of America" to get him out.

Todd Robinson, the chargé d'affaires at the USA embassy, went to the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry for information, the embassy added.

Venezuela's Information Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

Cabello denied Robinson had been snubbed, accusing him of staging a media show.

Joshua Holt and other American citizens are in danger. "The Venezuelan government is directly responsible for their security and we will hold them responsible if anything happens to them", the embassy tweeted in Spanish. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, to secure Holt's release.