VENEZUELA -- A major development in the status of a Utah man trapped in a Venezuelan jail along with his wife came Friday night.
Laurie Holt told Fox 13 News that the family attorney confirmed the Chief Venezuela Prosecutor has filed a petition for a conditional release from jail to house-arrest for the couple on the basis of needing better medical attention.
The Holt Family released this statement saying:
“The prosecution has sent in the petition but the judge has not approved it yet so we’re staying faithful and praying really hard, but we’re trying to remain quiet right now…”
The reason the family wants to remain quiet is because the current political climate in the country is tense between the government and anti-government protesters. What is happening Friday is hardly a guarantee of what one can expect tomorrow.
The couple have been locked up separately in the country since June of 2016, just days after the couple were married. They face weapons charges after police suddenly entered their apartment and claimed to find assault rifles and a grenade. Those allegations have been denied by the Holt family and United States politicians.
For the past year, the Holts have fought to get their son Josh in front of a Venezuelan judge, but all of the scheduled appearances were cancelled after the judge no-showed time and time again.
Utah Senator Orrin Hatch and his team continue to give the Holt’s a platform, and continue to fight for Josh. With news coming of the possible house-arrest request, Hatch’s office released this statement:
“We have been in communication with the Holt family and State Department this evening. We will defer to the Holt family for any announcements about important developments, but ask that you keep Josh and Thamy in your prayers as we hope to see movement towards their release.”
Holt, who is from Riverton, was arrested last year after he traveled to Venezuela to marry Thamy Candelo.
The US State Department called once again for Holt's release at the end of June, which marked the anniversary of his arrest. Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, also joined Holt's family in petitioning for Holt's release.
"The protracted delays in providing him even a preliminary hearing and filing formal charges casts serious doubts on the merit of and the lawfulness of his detention," the State Department said of Holt's plight. "His detention has been made all the more difficult and painful due to ongoing medical ailments, which have worsened by delays and denials of proper care."