SALT LAKE CITY — The mother of a Utah man imprisoned in Venezuela for nearly 1 ½ years is circulating a new audio recording of her son talking about how he’s suffering without medical care.
Laurie Holt said Monday that she’s sharing the recording Joshua Holt sent by cellphone so people can hear how dire the situation is. In the short recording, he talks about throwing up all night, feeling dizzy and struggling to think.
His mother is calling on Venezuela to release the former Mormon missionary on humanitarian grounds.
“Sadly today our son Josh Holt found himself again in a dire medical situation,” Laurie Holt said in a statement released Monday by U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch’s office. “They have disregarded the court order approving his transport to a medical facility to receive proper medical care, and the prison’s directors under the instructions of high government officials have continuously denied him the transfer to such a facility.
“Josh Holt is in a delicate state and therefore we ask again that Venezuela releases him under humanitarian grounds immediately. We also ask that our leaders in the U.S. government double their efforts in bringing him home before it is too late.”
Holt, 25, traveled to Venezuela in June 2016 and married a fellow Mormon he met online while practicing his Spanish. He had planned to spend several months in Caracas with her and her two daughters to secure visas for them so they could move to the U.S.
Instead, he was arrested at his wife’s apartment in a public housing complex. Police alleged he was hiding two assault rifles and grenades, and government officials later linked him to unspecified U.S. attempts to undermine Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s rule during a period of economic and political turbulence.
The families say they’re innocent.
Holt has a hearing scheduled Tuesday in Caracas, but most of his previous hearings have been canceled.
“It’s beyond inhumane to deny a court order allowing Josh to receive the urgent medical care he needs,” Hatch said in Monday’s statement. “I call on the Maduro government to see that Josh is able to receive immediate medical attention as we continue to work towards his release on humanitarian grounds.”
The Republican senator from Utah has been working with the Holt family, the Trump administration and previously the Obama administration toward Joshua Holt’s release from prison for over a year, and continues to work behind the scenes to return Holt to his family in Riverton, according to the statement.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS contributed to this story.
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