Sen. Dick Durbin Visits Venezuela, Expected To Discuss Jailed U.S. Citizen - FbiCables Network | The News that Shapes World Opinion

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Friday, April 06, 2018

Sen. Dick Durbin Visits Venezuela, Expected To Discuss Jailed U.S. Citizen

A Utah man fighting for release from Venezuelan custody may be about to get a leg up from a top U.S. senator.
Illinois lawmaker Dick Durbin arrived in the embattled South American country on Wednesday.
Few details about the trip have been released, but reports say Durbin is expected to discuss the incarceration of Joshua Holt during a meeting with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
FILE – In this Feb. 13, 2018 file photo, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. The powerful U.S. senator traveled to Venezuela, Wednesday, April 4, 2018, as pressure mounts on President Nicolas Maduro to hand over a Utah man jailed in the turbulent South American country for nearly two years. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
The 25-year-old traveled to the failed socialist state back in 2016 to marry a fellow Mormon he had met online while learning Spanish.
The U.S. citizen and his wife were later arrested during a police raid on the housing complex the couple lived in.
Venezuelan authorities slapped Holt with weapons charges, accusing him of stockpiling “weapons of war.”
However, the U.S. has repeatedly denounced the charges against Holt and his wife as being “politically motivated” as tensions between the two nations grow increasingly strained.
“We’ve made multiple calls for the Venezuelan Government to release him on humanitarian grounds,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert. “The protracted delays in providing him even a preliminary hearing and filing formal charges cast serious doubts on the merit of and the lawfulness of his detention.”
FILE – In this July 13, 2016 file photo, Laurie Holt holds a photograph of her son Joshua Holt, who has been jailed in Venezuela, at her home in Riverton, Utah. Wealthy businessman Wilmer Ruperti, a politically-connected shipping magnate, is paying the legal fees for Joshua Holt, at the same time he’s underwriting the defense of President Nicolas Maduro’s two nephews in a similarly high-profile U.S. narcotics trial. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
According to Holt’s family, Joshua is suffering from medical issues while behind bars and is not receiving proper treatment for those ailments.
However, despite these set-backs, U.S. officials have not given up on the Utah native.
In addition to Durbin, Senator Orrin Hatch from the Beehive State has been working behind the scenes on securing the release of Holt.
Earlier this year, the Republican sent a letter to Holt containing a passage from the bible to help boost his morale as the legal battle continues.

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