Riot erupts at Venezuela detention center, Utah man pleads for help

Riot erupts at Venezuela detention center, Utah man pleads for help

Former LDS Missionary Josh Holt, imprisoned in a Venezuelan prison since 2016, took to social media Wednesday to beg for help as prisoners took over parts of his facility.

In two 20-second videos shot on a cell phone, a visibly distraught Joshua Holt suggested that his patience is running out with the US government, which has made his release a top priority in its dealings with Venezuela's socialist government.

The Holt family released a statement through Trujillo, saying they were both "deeply troubled and concerned" about the riots. I need your help to get me out of this place. And now my life is threatened. How long do I have to suffer here?

Joshua Holt, a U.S. citizen held at the jail for two years pending trial, pleaded for help in a video message sent as the uprising was apparently going on. "The Venezuelan government is directly responsible for their security and we will hold them responsible if anything happens to them", the embassy tweeted in Spanish. How long do my kids have to go on asking for their mummy and daddy. "We need help from the people of Venezuela and also the people of the United States".

Relatives of inmates react outside a detention centre, where a riot occurred, in Caracas.

Chief Prosecutor Tarek William Saab sent a commission to the El Helicoide prison to speak with a representative of the inmates.

Amid statements of concern by Utah's congressional delegation, Todd Robinson, the top American diplomat in Venezuela, went to the foreign ministry to seek information about Holt.

Photos on social media show the swollen face of Mr Sanabria, a student held in El Helicoide pending trial ever since he took part in mass anti-government protest in 2014.

Riot erupts at Venezuela detention center, Utah man pleads for help
Riot erupts at Venezuela detention center, Utah man pleads for help

There was no official information on the incident, but videos from prisoners and comments by family members and activists suggested it had been precipitated by the beating of a young activist, Gregory Sanabria, from the state of Tachira.

An American prisoner has posted videos on Facebook from inside a Venezuelan jail seized by inmates ahead of the controversial presidential election.

Political prisoners have always been complaining about the conditions they are held in and pressure groups inside Venezuela as well as overseas have called on the government of President Nicolás Maduro to free them but so far this has had little impact.

"We're very anxious about the mutiny in the Helicoide".

"Joshua Holt and other USA citizens are in danger", it said in a tweet in Spanish.

The Trump administration has warned that it could put crippling oil sanctions on Venezuela if Maduro goes ahead with what the USA and others consider a sham presidential election Sunday.

"The Government of Venezuela is directly responsible for their safety and will be held responsible if anything happens to them".


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