Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Riot erupts at Venezuela detention center where activists, Utah man jailed

Riot erupts at Venezuela detention center where activists, Utah man jailed

Rep. Mia Love said Wednesday afternoon in a statement that her office had confirmed the prison "threatened by riots and violence", but that Holt was "safe at this time".

The second clip continues: 'I'm calling on the people of America. I have been begging my government for two years.

"The people have taken the entire prison", Mr Holt said in one of the videos.

Holt was arrested after traveling to Venezuela in the summer of 2016 to marry a woman, a Venezuelan native, who he had met on a dating website.

Joshua Holt, a United States 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. I am a political prisoner and they won't let me free. I have NEVER done anything wrong in my life.

A riot erupted on Wednesday at a detention center where dozens of government opponents of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and a Mormon missionary from Utah are detained, activists and relatives said on Wednesday. The disturbance, the extent of which was not known, came as Venezuelans are on edge days before Sunday's presidential election, which Maduro is widely expected to win despite a crushing economic crisis marked by widespread shortages and hyperinflation.

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"I need help. So they've taken the entire prison where I'm at". They're outside, they're trying to break in.

They say they did so after a political prisoner was beaten.

The Holt family released a statement through Trujillo, saying they were both "deeply troubled and concerned" about the riots. Photos of a man with a bruised face who was identified as Sanabria were also posted on social media.

"I'm here to show you that I am not being kidnapped", Holt says in the video, which he didn't post to his Facebook account.

In the face of the events that happened today in the Sebin headquarters at the Helicoide, we sent a commission of the prosecutor's office to the facility. That delegation spoke to a representative of the prisoners to respond to their requests. However, the number of political prisoners there and in other prisons, such as “Las Tumbas” near Plaza Venezuela is obviously and visibly demanding extra security.

Diosdado Cabello, leader of the Venezuelan Socialist Party, has accused Holt of being a U.S. agent and the country's top spy in Latin America, but he has not yet been put on trial.

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Cabello also broke a longstanding silence from Venezuelan officials' about Holt's imprisonment to accuse the American of being a spy.

The US embassy in Caracas tweeted that it was "very anxious about the rebellion".

Holt's trial on weapons charges had been scheduled to start Tuesday but Holt and his wife, Thamara Caleno, were never taken to the courthouse by their jailers.

Todd Robinson, the charg d'affaires at the US embassy, went to the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry for information, the embassy tweeted.

Todd Robinson, the top American diplomat in Venezuela, speaks to reporters in Caracas, May 16, 2018.

"They're outside", he said of the rioting inmates.

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Joshua Holt and other American citizens are in danger.

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