State Department watching case of U.S. man facing Venezuela weapons charges

August 30, 2016 5:09 PM EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday it was monitoring the case of an American citizen facing weapons charges in Venezuela, and urged the government in Caracas to ensure that he receives a fair trial next month.

State Department spokesman John Kirby confirmed that U.S. citizen Joshua Holt was arrested on June 30 in Venezuela on weapons charges. He said consular officials from the U.S. Embassy were providing all possible assistance to Holt, visiting him most recently on Aug. 16.

Kirby called on the Venezuelan government to "respect due process and human rights and guarantee a fair trial" for Holt. He said State Department officials had been in contact with the Venezuelan government regarding the case.

Fox News Latino reported last month that Holt, 24, a Utah resident, was arrested five days after marrying a Venezuelan woman he had met on line through a Mormon website. Fox cited local reports as saying police found a grenade, an AK-47 and an M4 assault rifle in the house where the couple was staying.

Kirby said Holt would continue to receive regular consular visits from U.S. officials as he awaits trial in the middle of next month. Kirby said it was typical for the embassy to send a representative to trials for U.S. citizens overseas, but he could not say for sure that would happen in the Venezuela case.

(Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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