After being held more than two years in a Venezuelan prison, Josh Holt and his wife, Thamara Holt, have been freed, according to statements from President Donald Trump and Sen. Orrin Hatch.
Good news about the release of the American hostage from Venezuela. Should be landing in D.C. this evening and be in the White House, with his family, at about 7:00 P.M. The great people of Utah will be very happy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2018
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch also released a statement about Holt's release:
"I’m pleased to announce that after two years of hard work, we’ve secured the release of Josh and Thamy Holt, who are now on their way home to the United States from Venezuela,” Hatch said in an emailed statement, according to KSL.
The statements follow Holt's recent pleas via Facebook to for Americans to help free him after a prison riot caused him to fear for his life.
Holt and his wife were on their honeymoon in Venezuela when both were arrested on June 30, 2016, after police raided the couple's apartment and allegedly found a hand grenade and AK-47 assault rifles.
In 2017, a Venezuelan judge ordered Holt to stand trial for weapon charges but never showed for multiple sentencing dates.
For two years, Holt has endured abuse while in prison that included being stripped naked and forced to do push-ups and being denied basic medical care. But even while enduring horrifying conditions, Holt shared his testimony with his family through letters from his prison cell.
"I do rejoice in my God and my Savior. I know that they are watching and listening to every prayer. I don’t know when he will answer my prayers, but I know he will. . . .
"The only thing I can do is beg the Lord to soften the hearts of this people and that of the governments . . . As Elder Holland once said, 'Don’t you quit. You keep walking, you keep trying, there is help and happiness ahead. Some blessings come soon, some come late, some don’t come until heaven, but for those who embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ they come. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.'"
During Holt's imprisonment, his mother, Sen. Hatch, Sen. Mike Lee, Rep. Mia Love, President Barack Obama, President Trump, the Vatican, the U.S. Embassy, and many others have worked to release Holt from his imprisonment.
Now freed from prison, Holt will return to his hometown of Riverton, Utah, according to KSL.