Venezuela Launches Commission to Investigate Prison Riot

Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab confirmed that his office is investigating a riot at a Caracas detention center where US citizen Joshua Holt is currently held. 

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The ad hoc commission will investigate the riot among inmates at the Sebin headquarters at the Helicoide in Caracas
The ad hoc commission will investigate the riot among inmates at the Sebin headquarters at the Helicoide in Caracas. (Reuters)

Venezuela's Public Prosecution has set up an ad hoc commission that will investigate a prison riot among inmates at a crowded Caracas detention center on Wednesday.

Chief Prosecutor Tarek Saab tweeted: "In the face of the events that happened today in the Sebin headquarters at the Helicoide, we sent a commission of the prosecutor's office to the facility. That delegation spoke to a representative of the prisoners to respond to their requests."

Prisoners started a riot that was soon taken over by the few inmates who claim to have been imprisoned on political charges, including Daniel Ceballos and Lorent Saleh, reported Eligio Rojas, journalist for Ultimas Noticias.

Such prisoners, who have access to smartphones, internet and social media, allegedly took over the leadership of the operation after the first wave of violence in order to give it media visibility.

In a Facebook post, Joshua Holt, a U.S. citizen arrested last year for preparing alleged terrorist attacks in Venezuela, said: "Helicoide the prison where I am at has fallen the guards are here and people are trying to break in my room and kill me. WHAT DO WE DO?"

His mother, Laurie Holt, told Reuters that she did not know the sequence of the videos and was unable to confirm Holt's current situation.

The U.S. embassy in Caracas said it was "very worried" about the situation at the Helicoide: "Joshua Holt and other U.S. citizens are in danger. The Venezuelan government is directly responsible for their security and we will hold them responsible if anything happens to them," the embassy tweeted in Spanish.

On Wednesday, US charge d'affaires Todd Robinson reportedly made a visit to Venezuela's Foreign Ministry to meet with Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, though no further details are yet known. 

With additional reporting by