A recently released photo shows the extreme conditions under which 24-year-old American Joshua Holt is being held in a Venezuelan prison, without a hearing.
In the screen grab obtained by Fox 13 in Salt Lake City, Holt appears to be some 60 pounds lighter than when he was arrested on weapon charges on June 30.
According to his devastated mother, Laurie Moon Holt, his son used to be a size 40 and is now a size 30.
“His health is suffering,” Moon Holt told Fox News Latino.
Holt, a devout Mormon, was arrested along with his Venezuelan wife of five days, Thamara Caleño Candelo, whom he met online while looking for Spanish-speaking Mormons to help him improve his Spanish.
Venezuelan authorities contend Holt was using his wife's apartment in Caracas to stockpile weapons and have suggested his case is linked to other attempts by the U.S. to undermine President Nicolás Maduro's socialist rule amid deep economic and political turbulence.
Holt and his wife insist the weapons were planted.
On Wednesday Holt’s attorney in Caracas, Jeanette Prieto, said she is preparing a human rights violation complaint because her client is being submitted to “cruel, inhumane and degrading” treatment. She said that, as punishment for an unspecified action, earlier this week he was forced to take off his clothes off and do squats in a hallway.
Holt was scheduled to have a hearing Tuesday, but it was canceled at the last minute, as often happens in Venezuela's flawed judicial system. The hearing was canceled because the judge failed to show up. It was the second time the hearing was postponed for that reason.
"It infuriates me,” Holt’s mother told the Associated Press. "Obviously, they're not giving him due process. At this point, I'm not sure where to go or what to do but pick back up and start fighting again."