American in Venezuela prison was set up, threatened and held hostage, says mom

American Joshua Holt is being held in a Venezuelan prison and begging for help from the American people.

“I’m calling on the people of America -- I need your help to get me out of this place,” Holt said in a video posted on Facebook.  “I’ve been begging my government for two years. They said that they are doing things but I’m still here and now my life is threatened. How long do I have to suffer here? How long do my kids have to go asking for mommy and daddy?”

The 26-year old from Utah was arrested shortly after he went to Venezuela where he married his wife, his mother Laurie Holt told FOX Business on Monday.  She said her son was set up and being held hostage for alleged spying for the United States.

“Seeing that he was American they came in, they wanted to know what his business was,” Holt told Stuart Varney on “Varney & CO.” “It took about five hours for them to take him to the jail. They sat outside of an abandoned parking lot and sat and threatened him … hit him … shot bullets over the top of the truck that he was sitting in.”

“They then had Thamy bring down their marriage certificate to the jail. Once she got there, they arrested her as his accomplice,” she added.

According to Holt after a riot broke out inside the prison, Holt received messages from her son describing how his life was in danger.

“There were a lot of videos that were sent from different individuals inside the prison,” she said. “One of them actually sent me a video of Thamy and Josh still behind the bars in their cell and you can see it -- the side where some of the people … had sat and pounded into the cement to try to open up the doorway to get in to kill him.”

While they have not heard from President Trump, Holt said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Rep. Mia Love (R-NY), the U.S. Embassy and the State Department are working “very hard to try to get Holt out.