Venezuelan judge a no-show for second time in Josh Holt case

Posted at 8:17 PM, Oct 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-12 10:27:52-04

SALT LAKE CITY - A Venezuelan judge’s actions, or lack thereof, continue to keep a Utah man in jail on what the family calls trumped up charges.

"Today's news was just devastating," said Laurie Holt, the mother of a 24-year-old man being held in Venezuela.

Josh Holt is being held on weapons charges after police allegedly found two assault rifles and a grenade in his home four months ago.  Charges both his family and Utah politicians have repeatedly called bogus.

Josh Holt traveled to Venezuela to marry a woman named Thamy whom he met online six months before. The hope was to bring her and her two daughters back to the United States after the wedding.

But Josh Holt was warned that Venezuela had a dangerous political climate, and that Americans may not be received well there.

Shortly after the wedding, police came into the couple's apartment and arrested them both on weapons charges.

Over the past four months, the Holts have found it impossible to get a fair trial. A judge was supposed to either sentence her son, or set him free last month, but never showed up to the courthouse.

The same thing happened again Tuesday. The news was heartbreaking to the Holts and to politicians who expected Josh Holt’s release.

"I think we all did," Laurie Holt said. "I think we all felt like this was going to be his release and that he was going to be coming home."

Congresswoman Mia Love's office released a statement Tuesday afternoon, the extended version can be found here, but in short, it read:

"I am both heartbroken and outraged...Today, I personally call on President Maduro to stop playing games, give political prisoners due process, and to release Josh Holt."

Sen. Orrin Hatch's office release a statement as well, in short reading:

"Senator Hatch is disappointed today's hearing was postponed and remains concerned about reports of Josh's mistreatment."

A growing concern over Josh Holt's health surfaced when photos of him being transported to the courthouse appeared.  His mom said he used to be a size 40 waist, but is now a size 30."

"I just can't stop crying," Laurie Holt said. "I'm not strong today, but I'll pick it back up tomorrow, and start fighting again tomorrow."