Family: Pocatello native getting ‘cruel, inhumane’ treatment


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CARACAS, VENEZUELA – A Pocatello native remains in a Venezuelan jail after a scheduled court hearing was canceled Tuesday because the judge was a no show.

It’s the second time in a month that the judge failed to show up for 24-year-old Joshua Holt’s hearing.

Holt’s parents, Jason and Laurie Holt, say to make matters worse they recently learned of “cruel and inhumane treatment” of their son by guards inside Sebin Prison in Caracas.

“They made him dress down to nothing,” Laurie Holt told ABC 4 Utah. “They made him do jumping jacks and squats out in the hallway for everybody to see and they did that for 30 minutes.”

Holt, a former missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is accused of spying and possessing weapons. His parents say the charges are false and he went to Venezuela to marry a woman he met online.

“I have not stopped crying pretty much all day,” Laurie said. “I just can’t stop today. I feel hopeless.”

“And I’m opposite,” Jason added. “I’m angry. I’m angry against Venezuela.”

Holt’s mother copes with seeing recent photos of her son.

“He’s lost so much weight. He’s so skinny and little,” Laurie said. “Then to see him in handcuffs was it’s like my baby boy and what are they doing to him? He doesn’t deserve this.”

Holt told his Venezuelan mother-in-law that he has severe diarrhea and blood in his urine. His parents worry that if he doesn’t get medical attention he could die in prison.

The Holt family claims has a created GoFundMe account to raise money.


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