WASHINGTON - Senator Hatch and President Donald Trump have announced the release of Utahn Josh Holt and his wife Thamy Holt from the Venezuelan prison they have been held in for the last two years.
Senator Orrin Hatch released this statement announcing the release on Saturday morning,
"I’m pleased 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 home to the United States from Venezuela.
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.
I want to thank Chairman Bob Corker for his pivotal efforts, and that of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for their help in this effort. I want to particularly thank Caleb McCarry, whose expertise and effort in Venezuela on my behalf has been instrumental in bringing Josh home."
President Trump tweeted his congratulations at 7:22 AM on Saturday morning saying that the Holts should be landing in Washington D.C. to reunite with his family at around 7:00 P.M.
Luis Olavarrieta, a Venezuelan journalist, tweeted photos of the family waiting to board their flight at the airport as well as a short video of them boarding their plane.
Rep. Mia Love says she is "beyond thrilled Josh Holt is coming home."
“I am beyond thrilled that Josh Holt is coming home. The President phoned me this morning to share the great news, and I’m grateful that President Trump for listening and getting Josh home.
I’ve always said that if my son or daughter were in this situation, I would want my member of Congress to do everything they could to get them home. It’s good to be able to be part of the effort so we can all rest easy now.
Over the 2 years Josh has been in prison, I have worked with the President, Sen. Orrin Hatch, Sen. Bob Corker, John Kelley, Secretary Pompeo, the State Department and many others who all came together to bring Josh Home. and of course had constant contact with Josh’s family.
I am overjoyed for Josh, Thamy their children and for Laurie and Jason Holt, who have had prayers answered today.”
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert also issued a statement on Holt's release.
"Like many Utahns, I was overjoyed this morning to hear Senator Orrin Hatch’s news that after two long years, Josh Holt and his wife Thamy had been released from prison in Venezuela and are making their way home to Utah. I would like to personally thank those who have worked tirelessly to make Josh’s release possible, including President Donald Trump, Senator Bob Corker, the members of Utah’s congressional delegation and their staff. Josh’s return comes in answer to many prayers. The people of Utah look forward to welcoming him home."
This news comes after Josh Holt released a video on May 17th letting the public know that he was OK and pleaded for help from the Venezuelan prison.
Holt has been incarcerated in the prison since 2016 but said that recently it had fallen to rioting and that he feared for his life.
Holt, of Riverton, was incarcerated after he traveled to Venezuela to marry his fiance. A few days after the wedding, he and his wife were arrested and Venezuelan authorities claimed they found assault weapons in their apartment.
Holt’s family insists the couple was wrongly accused, and the US State Department has been calling for Holt’s release.
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