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After 100 days in a Venezuelan prison, a Utah man was hoping for a chance at being released on Tuesday, but, once again, his hearing was cancelled when the judge was a no-show.
The hearing was originally scheduled for Sept. 15, but Judge Elena Cassiani failed to show up. The hearing was re-scheduled for Tuesday.
Joshua Holt, 24, was arrested June 30 on weapons charges just five days after flying to the country to marry Thamara Caleño Candelo, a woman he met on a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints website. They are both church members.
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.
Cassiani could have ruled on whether the charges against Holt and Caleño Candelo will be dropped or if the case merits a trial. He could also be allowed to be released pending trial.
Holt’s situation is particularly difficult for his family, who live in Utah.
Fox News Latino spoke with Laurie Moon Holt, Josh’s mother, to see how she and her family were holding up after receiving the crushing news that, yet again, Cassiani failed to appear in court.
Moon Holt told FNL that she was told that last week authorities had made Josh take off all his clothes and do naked jumping jacks as a punishment.
She didn't say what the punishment was for.
“His health is suffering. He is peeing blood and [has] diarrhea,” Moon Holt told FNL. She said she's doing her best to stay strong.
Edder Jimenez, the president of a Caracas chapter of the LDS church, told FNL that they are helping in every way they can. However, visitor policy at the prison where they are both being held is quite restrictive.
In a meeting with Maduro on Sept. 26, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry raised the detentions of Holt and Francisco Márquez, a Venezuelan-American political activist from the opposition who was also arrested in June.
Diplomatic relations between Venezuela and the U.S. have been strained for nearly two decades, since Hugo Chávez became president in 1999.
Holt is being held at El Helicoide, a prison controlled by the Sebin, Venezuela’s intelligence police. It also holds a number of political prisoners.
As it happens, Sebin’s director is General Gustavo González López, a well known Chavista who was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2014 for human rights violations. And the intelligence police operate under the Interior Ministry, which is headed by General Nestor Reverol, who was indicted for drug trafficking by a U.S. federal court two months ago.