Senator, Trump say Utah man released from Venezuela jail

Joshua Holt in a Venezuelan jail holding a letter he received last Friday from Sen. Orrin Hatch

Joshua Holt in a Venezuelan jail holding a letter he received last Friday from Sen. Orrin Hatch

The White House is thanking the government of Venezuela for releasing an American held in jail for two years but adding that USA policy toward the Maduro regime isn't changing. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who said Holt soon would be reunited with "his sweet, long-suffering family" in Riverton, Utah.

U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands during a meeting with Joshua Holt after his return to the U.S.at the White House on May 26, 2018 in Washington, DC.

"I am pleased to join Senator Hatch and President Trump in announcing the release of Josh and Thamy Holt", Corker said in a statement.

HuffPost contributed additional information to this report. Venezuela contended Holt was a spy involved in trying to destabilize the country. He said Holt had been through more than "most people could endure". Bob Corker of Tennessee as they flew back to the USA on Saturday afternoon.

"As part of. the peace and reconciliation being presented by President Maduro, he ordered the liberation of the American Joshua Holt and his wife", Rodriguez said at a Saturday news conference at the presidential palace.

Sitting with Trump and other USA officials, Holt said he was "overwhelmed with gratitude" for those who worked for his release.

Holt's plight grabbed White House attention early in the Trump administration.

One woman interviewed by the Herald, said Holt had been framed with the crime because he was a USA citizen, alleging that she and four other witnesses saw government authorities plant the weapons in Holt's apartment.

Holt's release comes more than a week after he posted videos to Facebook during a prison riot, pleading for help from Americans and the United States government.

Flash flood hits U.S. state of Maryland
Flooding is seen in Ellicott City, Maryland, May 27, 2018 , in this still image from a video from social media. Rescuers are searching for Eddison Alexander Hermond, 39, a Guardsman and Air Force veteran from Severn.

U.S. authorities had been denied access to a court hearing on Holt's case in December, with Trump labelling the USA citizen a "hostage" of the Venezuela administration.

McCarry leveraged a 15-year-old relationship with Maduro from their time together in the Boston Group, an informal gathering from across the political spectrum - Democrats, Republicans, socialists and capitalists - from both countries that worked discreetly to fix relations between the two countries following a coup in 2002 against then-President Hugo Chavez.

Holt, a Utah native, was released along with his wife, Thamy, according to a statement from Sen.

The couple were accompanied home by U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, who met on Friday with Maduro.

Holt's mother, Laurie Holt, said all along that her son and his wife were wrongly accused. He added, "we hope this is read by sectors that permanently promote the attack of Venezuela as a profound intention to seek peace between Venezuelans and the people of the world".

"While the government promises to free political prisoners from the Helicoide...it's prohibiting the delivery of food and water to the male political prisoners", Alfredo Romero, the head of the Foro Penal advocacy group said.

Maduro was re-elected to a six-year term in controversial elections May 20 that were boycotted by most opposition parties and rejected as illegitimate by the United States and other countries.

McCarry secretly traveled to Venezuela in February to discuss Holt's imprisonment with Maduro and first lady Cilia Flores. Venezuela has since expelled a U.S. diplomat based in the capital Caracas for allegedly "conspiring" against the government.

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