A Utah man and his wife who were held in Venezuela without trial for two years were on their way to the US on Saturday, family members, Senator Orrin Hatch and\u00a0Donald Trump\u00a0said.\r\n\r\nIn a tweet, Trump referred to Joshua Holt as a \u201chostage\u201d and said he would welcome him to the White House later on Saturday. In fact, Holt and his wife, Thamara, were held by the Venezuelan government on weapons charges US officials\u00a0dismissed\u00a0as trumped up.\r\nHolt travelled to\u00a0Venezuela\u00a0in 2016 to marry Thamara, who he met on the internet while he was looking for Spanish-speaking Mormons to help him improve his Spanish. The couple were arrested soon after, accused of stockpiling weapons.\r\nLast week, Holt\u00a0posted video to Facebook\u00a0in which he said he feared for his life in jail in Caracas and said: \u201cI\u2019ve been begging my government for two years. They say they\u2019re doing things but I\u2019m still here.\u201d\r\nHatch, the senior Utah senator,\u00a0announced\u00a0Holt\u2019s release. The Republican said in a statement he had \u201cworked with two presidential administrations, countless diplomatic contacts, ambassadors from all over the world, a network of contacts in Venezuela and President [Nicol\u00e1s] Maduro himself\u201d to achieve the release.\r\nHe added: \u201cI could not be more honoured to reunite Josh with his sweet, long-suffering family in Riverton.\u201d\r\n\r\nHatch thanked Bob Corker of Tennessee, chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, who met Maduro on Friday. Corker\u2019s office told reporters he was accompanying the couple back to the US.\r\nRelations between the US and Venezuela have been strained, particularly over the election which last week returned Maduro to power. On Tuesday, Venezuela\u00a0ejected\u00a0the top US diplomat in the country.\r\nSpeaking at a news conference in Caracas, communications minister Jorge Rodriguez said the Holts were freed as part of efforts by Maduro\u2019s government to maintain \u201crespectful diplomatic relations\u201d with Washington.\r\n\u201cThis type of gesture,\u201d he said \u201c\u2026 allows us to consolidate what has always been our standpoint: dialogue, agreement, respect for our independence, respect for our sovereignty.\u201d\r\n\r\nHolt and his wife had been charged with espionage, violence and spreading activities against Venezuela\u2019s constitutional order, Rodriguez said.\r\n\u201cGood news about the release of the American hostage from Venezuela,\u201d Trump tweeted. \u201cShould be landing in DC this evening and be in the White House, with his family, at about 7pm. The great people of\u00a0Utah\u00a0will be very happy!\u201d\r\nLater, as he left the White House\u00a0apparently\u00a0to play golf, Trump\u00a0tweeted: \u201cLooking forward to seeing Joshua Holt this evening in the White House. The great people of Utah are Celebrating!\u201d\r\nRequests for more details were not immediately answered by the White House. Marco Rubio, the Florida senator who advocates a hardline policy on Venezuela, echoed Trump when he\u00a0tweeted\u00a0that Holt \u201cwas an innocent America hostage in Venezuela & his UNCONDITIONAL release was long overdue\u201d.\r\nHolt\u2019s family said they were \u201cgrateful to all who participated in this miracle\u201d. The family expressed its gratitude for all who worked for the couple\u2019s release and asked to be allowed to meet Holt and his wife before making any public statements.