Venezuelan prosecutor seeks conditional release for Utah man

Rick Bowmer

FILE – In this July 13, 2016 file photo, Laurie Holt holds a photograph of her son Joshua Holt, who has been jailed in Venezuela, at her home in Riverton, Utah. Venezuela’s chief prosecutor has requested the conditional release of the Utah man and his wife detained for over a year on weapons charges. announced on Friday, July 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

RIVERTON — The family of a Utah man held for more than a year in a Venezuela prison remains cautious after a chief prosecutor has requested the conditional release of their son and his wife.

“The prosecution has sent in the petition but the judge has not approved it yet, so we’re staying faithful and praying really hard,” Laurie Holt said in a text message after hearing the news. “We’re trying to remain quiet right now not to bring any more attention to it in Venezuela.”

The petition to have Joshua Holt and his wife, Theresa Calena, freed but barred from leaving Venezuela while awaiting trial was made Friday because of what the prosecutor’s office said were undue delays in his prosecution.

The 25-year-old Holt was arrested June 30, 2016, after traveling to Venezuela to wed Calena. They had met on the internet when Holt wanted to improve his Spanish after returning from an LDS Church mission. She was his online tutor.

Authorities accused Holt of hiding an assault rifle and grenades at the apartment where the two were living. Authorities have suggested he was linked to a U.S.-backed conspiracy to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

Prosecutors also requested that they be allowed to verify the couples’ health in the Caracas facility run by…

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