Hearing of U.S. man held in Venezuela canceled for the third time, no reason given

For the third time in three months, the judge assigned to the case of a Utah man held in Venezuela on weapon charges cancelled a hearing that had been set for Tuesday.

Joshua Holt’s lawyer, Jeanette Prieto, said justice once again has been negated.

“It is evident that this is a totally unjustified procedural delay,” she said to Fox News Latino. “They are undue delays and the politicization of this case becomes evident when they refuse to hold the hearing.”

The hearing was expected to deliver a critical decision — either to try the 24-year-old man or drop the charges.

Prieto said she was not allowed to see Holt on Tuesday, despite the fact that he had been transported to the courthouse. Tuesday’s hearing was scheduled for 9 a.m., but Holt arrived at 10 a.m. According to Prieto, Judge Elena Cassiani announced the new postponement at 10:15, saying that she had other issues to attend to – which Prieto said is not true.

“Both the prosecutor and I tried to talk to Judge Cassiani but she didn’t show face,” Prieto said. “She didn’t was to see us, she didn’t leave her office.”

She said that she herself told the judge’s secretary that Holt was in the building, waiting for the hearing, but she got no response. “It was obvious that they did not want to do the hearing,” she said.

The new hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 6 at noon.

Holt and his Venezuelan wife, Thamara Caleño Candelo, have been held since June 30, in a Caracas building that belongs to the national intelligence agency called Sebin.

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.

Holt had a hearing scheduled in mid-September and then another in mid-October, but in both of those Judge Cassiani failed to appear.

The Holts are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).

He met his wife through LDS.org, three days after he returned from performing mission work in Washington State.

To his devastated mother, Laurie Moon Holt, the profoundly devout Mormon is still her “little boy” and a “good, kind person” who fell in love online despite warnings about traveling to the South American country to get married.

“I’m living a nightmare. I don’t’ have a life. This is my full-time job,” she told Fox News Latino back in August from her home in Utah.

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