An American hostage imprisoned by the Maduro regime in Venezuela begged for assistance in a note as police cracked down on political prisoners demanding an end to their repression on Wednesday.
“Helicoide the prison where I am at has fallen [sic] the guards are here and people.are trying to break in my room and kill me [sic],” Joshua Holt wrote on his Facebook page.
“Help me please united states, how long do I have to suffer unjustly in this place?” he continued. “They want to kill me and paint the walls with my blood. I am a political prisoner, and they won’t let me free. They won’t give me a true trial.”
Holt, a former Mormon missionary from Utah, was arrested in Venezuela in June 2016 along with his Venezuelan wife Thamara Caleño after officials claimed to have uncovered a small weapons arsenal in their apartment. They remain incarcerated despite eyewitnesses confirming they saw police enter the apartment to place the weapons there beforehand.
“Please my fellow Americans don’t allow me to continue suffering in Venezuela,” Holt continued. “I am not a political pawn I am a human being a child of God and I just want to live happy with my wife and children. I have NEVER done anything wrong in my life. Please help me!”
His message comes amid reports of inmates protesting at El Heliocide prison in Caracas against torture and human rights violations at the hands of prison authorities.
Holt’s mother, Laurie, claims her son has been routinely tortured by prison authorities, who force him to perform gym exercises naked in the prison’s hallways, requiring Holt to violate Mormon practices of modesty around others.
Since entering the jail, Holt’s health has significantly deteriorated, having lost 50 pounds and developing kidney stones, bronchitis, and internal bleeding, with his family arguing his life is in danger.
“The Sebin has told me that as long as my government continues attacking this government and as long as Marco Rubio continues talking about me the longer that they will never let me go,” he continued, a reference to the Floridian senators efforts to increase pressure for his release.
America’s top diplomat in Venezuela, Todd Robinson, visited the foreign ministry to seek information about Holt’s safety, but says
“Joshua Holt and other U.S. citizens are in danger,” Robinson said. “The government of Venezuela is directly responsible for their safety and will be held responsible if anything happens to them. We renew our call for the government to release Joshua Holt on humanitarian grounds.”
Last month, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) met with Maduro to help secure Holt’s release. Maduro reportedly told Durbin that he would “consider” pardoning Holt but refused to make any promises on the matter.