Former US prisoner Josh Holt returns from Venezuela

US Vice President Mike Pence

The Venezuelan government on Saturday released an American, Josh Holt, who it has held since 2016 on weapons charges, U.S. President Donald Trump and Utah Sen.

According to a statement by Senator Orrin Hatch, "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".

Mr. Hatch also thanked Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, a Republican and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, who met with Mr. "The great people of Utah are Celebrating!" tweeted Mr. Trump.

Venezuelan authorities have claimed Holt was keeping guns in the home of the woman he went to the country to marry in 2016.

Earlier in May, Holt made an emotional plea for Americans' help in getting him out of the Caracas jail, saying in a clandestinely shot video that his life was threatened during a riot in the country's most-notorious prison.

The U.S. government at first avoided ratcheting up public pressure on Venezuela in light of their already strained relations, but eventually raised Holt's case with the highest levels of the Venezuelan government and decried his treatment in prison.

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Joshua Holt , 26, from Utah has been held in a Venezuelan prison on allegations of spying for the US , according to reports. Holt had traveled to Venezuela to marry Caleno, whom he met online. "I have been begging my government for two years.

In a statement on Facebook, Holt's family gave thanks "to all who participated in this miracle", but asked to be allowed to meet him and his wife before giving any further statements or interviews. His family has said he was in the wrong place at the wrong time of a raid in the Caracas neighborhood of his wife, Thamara Caleno, whom he met through online Spanish lessons after returning from an LDS mission.

There has not been any official confirmation or comment from President Nicolás Maduro's government. Last week, Diosdado Cabello, one of Venezuela's most powerful politicians, called him the "Latin American head" of the Central Intelligence Agency and a "mercenary".

Laurie Holt held a photograph of her son, Josh, at her home, in Riverton, Utah.

Holt will be returning to the United States with his wife, Thamara Caleño.

"Josh & Thamy Holt had nothing to do with internal politics in #Venezuela", Rubio tweeted.

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