Utah senator, U.S. leaders rally for release of Pocatello native in Venezuela jail

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (KUTV) — Laurie Holt, the mother of Joshua Holt, who has been imprisoned in a Venezuelan jail since July, found renewed hope in Utah Senator Orrin Hatch’s recent effort to rally other U.S. leaders to bring Johsua Home.

“It brought tears to my eyes,” she said of the conversation she had with Hatch on Friday. Holt was born and raised in Pocatello.

In a video, posted on his website, Hatch said he talked to Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice-President Joe Biden about Holt’s situation.

“(They) will be working with us to resolve this nightmare for the whole family,” he said.

Hatch indicated the State Department will help secure the release of Joshua Holt and his wife Tamara who is in the same prison.

The newlyweds were arrested days after their wedding. Holt went there to marry but was accused of being a U.S. spy.

His mother said he is in a cell with six other men who all drink out of the same cup and he relieves himself in a jar. He is offered a bit of rice several times a day along with protein. He cooks his meals himself.

She said her son’s health is deteriorating.

Complicating the situation is the unfriendly relationship between the U.S. and Venezuela and the fact Venezuela is in the midst of a huge economic crisis that has created serious food shortages.

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