Trump says Venezuela has freed American missionary Josh Holt

WASHINGTON, May 26 (Reuters) - The Venezuelan government on Saturday released an American, Josh Holt, whom it has held since 2016 on weapons charges, U.S. President Donald Trump and Utah Senator Orrin Hatch said in separate posts on Twitter.

Holt, a Mormon missionary from Utah, was returning to the United States and expected to arrive in Washington on Saturday evening, Trump said in a tweet that described Holt as "the American hostage." Hatch issued a statement saying the release was the culmination of two years of hard work and that Holt's wife Thamy would be accompanying him home.

"Over the past two years I've worked with two presidential administrations, countless diplomatic contacts, ambassadors all over the world, a network of contacts in Venezuela and President Maduro himself, and I could not be more honored to be able to reunite Josh with his sweet, long-suffering family," Hatch said in a statement.

RELATED: Moments from Venezuela's 2018 presidential election

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Moments from Venezuela's 2018 presidential election
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Moments from Venezuela's 2018 presidential election
A Venezuelan citizen living in Peru holds a placard reading: "No to fraud" as he takes part in a protest during the presidential election in Venezuela, in Lima, Peru May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo
Venezuelan citizens living in Colombia protest against the presidential elections in Venezuela, in Bogota, Colombia May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Julio Martinez
Venezuelan citizens living in Colombia protest against the presidential elections in Venezuela, in Bogota, Colombia May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Julio Martinez
A Venezuelan boy living in Peru cries at a protest during the presidential election in Venezuela, in Lima, Peru May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo
A Venezuela citizen living in Peru gestures as he takes part in a protest during the presidential election in Venezuela, in Lima, Peru May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo
Venezuelan citizens living in Peru hold a placard reading: "Far but not absent" as they take part in a protest during the presidential election in Venezuela, in Lima, Peru May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo
Venezuelans wait to vote at a polling station during the presidential election in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, May 20, 2018. REUTERS/William R. Urdaneta
A Venezuelan casts her vote at a polling station during the presidential election in Caracas, Venezuela, May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
A Venezuelan casts his vote at a polling station during the presidential election in Caracas, Venezuela, May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Venezuelan citizens living in Peru take part in a protest during the presidential election in Venezuela, in Lima, Peru May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo
A militia member directs voters at a polling station during the presidential election in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, May 20, 2018. REUTERS/William R. Urdaneta
Venezuelans and Cubans take part in a small protest against Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro as the Venezuelan presidential election is held, in the Little Havana neighborhood in Miami, Florida, U.S., May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
Venezuelan citizens living in Colombia protest against the presidential elections in Venezuela, in Bogota, Colombia May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Julio Martinez
Venezuelan citizens living in Peru take part in a protest during the presidential election in Venezuela, in Lima, Peru May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo
Venezuelan citizens hold a flag of their country after voting at the Venezuelan embassy in Bogota, Colombia May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Julio Martinez
Venezuelans (L-R) Ismael Oswaldo Morales Buenano, Eulalia Jimenez and Barbara Garcia protest against Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro as the Venezuelan presidential election is held, in Miami, Florida, U.S., May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
Venezuelan citizens living in Peru hold placard reading: "Far but not absent" as they take part in a protest during the presidential election in Venezuela, in Lima, Peru May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo
Venezuelans and Cubans take part in a small protest against Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro as the Venezuelan presidential election is held, in the Little Havana neighborhood in Miami, Florida, U.S., May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
Luisa Mosquera (L) and Maria Dolores Nardi (C) collect signatures for the International Court, seeking to disallow the Venezuelan presidential election at a small protest against Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro as the Venezuelan presidential election is held, in the Little Havana neighborhood in Miami, Florida, U.S., May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
Venezuelan citizens wait to vote at a polling station during the presidential election in Caracas, Venezuela, May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Venezuelan citizens wait to check in at a "Red Point," an area set up by President Nicolas Maduro's party, to verify that they cast their votes during the presidential election in Maracaibo, Venezuela, May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Isaac Urrutia Jose Bula
A militia member directs voters at a polling station during the presidential election in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, May 20, 2018. REUTERS/William R. Urdaneta
Venezuelan citizens wait to check in at a "Red Point," an area set up by President Nicolas Maduro's party, to verify that they cast their votes during the presidential election in Maracaibo, Venezuela, May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Isaac Urrutia Jose Bula
A woman checks electoral lists at a polling station during the presidential election in Caracas, Venezuela, May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Veron
Soldiers stand guard at a school during the presidential election in Caracas, Venezuela, May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Veron
A woman walks past a polling station during the presidential election in Caracas, Venezuela, May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Veron
Soldiers stand guard at a polling station during the presidential election in Caracas, Venezuela, May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Veron
A Venezuelan militia member waves at a polling station during the presidential election in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
A Venezuelan soldier stands guard at a polling station during the presidential election in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
Venezuelan soldiers (R), a militia member and civilians at a polling station during the presidential election in Caracas, Venezuela, May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Venezuelan citizens living in Argentina take part in a protest in front Venezuela's embassy during the presidential election in Venezuela, in Buenos Aires, Argentina May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Martin Acosta
Venezuelan citizens living in Argentina take part in a protest in front Venezuela's embassy during the presidential election in Venezuela, in Buenos Aires, Argentina May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Martin Acosta
Venezuelan citizens living in Argentina take part in a protest in front Venezuela's embassy during the presidential election in Venezuela, in Buenos Aires, Argentina May 20, 2018. The sign reads: "I do not vote for dictatorship" REUTERS/Martin Acosta
A militia member (top, L) stands guard at a polling station as electoral lists line a wall during the presidential election in Caracas, Venezuela, May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Members of the Venezuelan community in Peru protest against the presidential election in their country, in the surroundings of the Venezuelan embassy in Lima, on May 20, 2018. - Despite the fact that almost 300,000 Venezuelans have migrated to Peru, only some 600 of them are able to vote as the embassy's electoral register has not been updated since 2012 forbidding those who arrived after this date to vote. (Photo by Luka GONZALES / AFP) (Photo credit should read LUKA GONZALES/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Venezuelan community in Peru protest against the presidential election in their country, in the surroundings of the Venezuelan embassy in Lima, on May 20, 2018. - Despite the fact that almost 300,000 Venezuelans have migrated to Peru, only some 600 of them are able to vote as the embassy's electoral register has not been updated since 2012 forbidding those who arrived after this date to vote. (Photo by Luka GONZALES / AFP) (Photo credit should read LUKA GONZALES/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Venezuelan community in Peru protest against the presidential election in their country, in the surroundings of the Venezuelan embassy in Lima, on May 20, 2018. - Despite the fact that almost 300,000 Venezuelans have migrated to Peru, only some 600 of them are able to vote as the embassy's electoral register has not been updated since 2012 forbidding those who arrived after this date to vote. (Photo by Luka GONZALES / AFP) (Photo credit should read LUKA GONZALES/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Venezuelan community in Mexico protest against the presidential election in their country, in front of the Venezuelan embassy in Mexico where a polling station was installed, in Mexico City, on May 20, 2018. - Venezuelans, reeling under a devastating economic crisis, began voting Sunday in an election boycotted by the opposition and condemned by much of the international community but expected to hand deeply unpopular President Nicolas Maduro a new mandate. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO / AFP) (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Venezuelan community in Mexico protest against the presidential election in their country, in front of the Venezuelan embassy in Mexico where a polling station was installed, in Mexico City, on May 20, 2018. - Venezuelans, reeling under a devastating economic crisis, began voting Sunday in an election boycotted by the opposition and condemned by much of the international community but expected to hand deeply unpopular President Nicolas Maduro a new mandate. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO / AFP) (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Venezuelan community in Mexico protest against the presidential election in their country, in front of the Venezuelan embassy in Mexico where a polling station was installed, in Mexico City, on May 20, 2018. - Venezuelans, reeling under a devastating economic crisis, began voting Sunday in an election boycotted by the opposition and condemned by much of the international community but expected to hand deeply unpopular President Nicolas Maduro a new mandate. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO / AFP) (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
A police officer stands guard outside of the Venezuelan embassy in Mexico City -where a polling station was installed- while Members of the Venezuelan community in Mexico protest against the presidential election in their country, on May 20, 2018. - Venezuelans, reeling under a devastating economic crisis, began voting Sunday in an election boycotted by the opposition and condemned by much of the international community but expected to hand deeply unpopular President Nicolas Maduro a new mandate. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO / AFP) (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Venezuelan community in Mexico protest against the presidential election in their country, in front of the Venezuelan embassy in Mexico where a polling station was installed, in Mexico City, on May 20, 2018. - Venezuelans, reeling under a devastating economic crisis, began voting Sunday in an election boycotted by the opposition and condemned by much of the international community but expected to hand deeply unpopular President Nicolas Maduro a new mandate. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO / AFP) (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
A police officer stands guard outside of the Venezuelan embassy in Mexico City -where a polling station was installed- while Members of the Venezuelan community in Mexico protest against the presidential election in their country, on May 20, 2018. - Venezuelans, reeling under a devastating economic crisis, began voting Sunday in an election boycotted by the opposition and condemned by much of the international community but expected to hand deeply unpopular President Nicolas Maduro a new mandate. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO / AFP) (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Venezuelan community in Mexico protest against the presidential election in their country, in front of the Venezuelan embassy in Mexico where a polling station was installed, in Mexico City, on May 20, 2018. - Venezuelans, reeling under a devastating economic crisis, began voting Sunday in an election boycotted by the opposition and condemned by much of the international community but expected to hand deeply unpopular President Nicolas Maduro a new mandate. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO / AFP) (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Venezuelan community in Mexico protest against the presidential election in their country, in front of the Venezuelan embassy in Mexico where a polling station was installed, in Mexico City, on May 20, 2018. - Venezuelans, reeling under a devastating economic crisis, began voting Sunday in an election boycotted by the opposition and condemned by much of the international community but expected to hand deeply unpopular President Nicolas Maduro a new mandate. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO / AFP) (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Venezuelan community in Mexico protest against the presidential election in their country, in front of the Venezuelan embassy in Mexico where a polling station was installed, in Mexico City, on May 20, 2018. - Venezuelans, reeling under a devastating economic crisis, began voting Sunday in an election boycotted by the opposition and condemned by much of the international community but expected to hand deeply unpopular President Nicolas Maduro a new mandate. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO / AFP) (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
People check the electoral register before casting their vote during Venezuela's presidential election, San Cristobal, Venezuela, on May 20, 2018. - Venezuelans, reeling under a devastating economic crisis, began voting Sunday in an election boycotted by the opposition and condemned by much of the international community but expected to hand deeply unpopular President Nicolas Maduro a new mandate. (Photo by GEORGE CASTELLANOS / AFP) (Photo credit should read GEORGE CASTELLANOS/AFP/Getty Images)
Picture taken at a polling station in San Cristobal, Venezuela, during the presidential election, on May 20, 2018. - Venezuelans, reeling under a devastating economic crisis, began voting Sunday in an election boycotted by the opposition and condemned by much of the international community but expected to hand deeply unpopular President Nicolas Maduro a new mandate. (Photo by GEORGE CASTELLANOS / AFP) (Photo credit should read GEORGE CASTELLANOS/AFP/Getty Images)
A man checks the electoral register before casting his vote in San Cristobal, Venezuela, during the presidential election, on May 20, 2018. - Venezuelans, reeling under a devastating economic crisis, began voting Sunday in an election boycotted by the opposition and condemned by much of the international community but expected to hand deeply unpopular President Nicolas Maduro a new mandate. (Photo by GEORGE CASTELLANOS / AFP) (Photo credit should read GEORGE CASTELLANOS/AFP/Getty Images)
Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's president, center, waves after voting at a polling station during presidential elections in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Venezuela holds an election Sunday that will be ignored by much of the country, but could set its path for decades to come. Photographer: Wil Riera/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Voters check a registration list outside of a polling station during presidential elections in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Venezuela�holds an election Sunday that will be ignored by much of the country, but could set its path for decades to come. Photographer: Wil Riera/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A man wears a mask in the likeness of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during presidential elections in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Venezuela holds an election Sunday that will be ignored by much of the country, but could set its path for decades to come. Photographer: Wil Riera/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A pro-government supporter hangs a campaign poster for Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's president, on a booth during presidential elections in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Venezuela holds an election Sunday that will be ignored by much of the country, but could set its path for decades to come. Photographer: Wil Riera/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Pro-government supporters hang a Venezuelan flag on a booth during presidential elections in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Venezuela holds an election Sunday that will be ignored by much of the country, but could set its path for decades to come. Photographer: Wil Riera/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A voter sits while waiting to cast a ballot outside of a polling station during presidential elections in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Venezuela holds an election Sunday that will be ignored by much of the country, but could set its path for decades to come. Photographer: Wil Riera/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Voters check a registration list outside of a polling station during presidential elections in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Venezuela�holds an election Sunday that will be ignored by much of the country, but could set its path for decades to come. Photographer: Wil Riera/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Voters wait to cast their ballot as a member of the National Bolivarian Militia stands guard outside of a polling station during presidential elections in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Venezuela holds an election Sunday that will be ignored by much of the country, but could set its path for decades to come. Photographer: Wil Riera/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A voter's Carnet de la Patria, or Fatherland Card, is scanned to verify identification inside a polling station during presidential elections in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Venezuela�holds an election Sunday that will be ignored by much of the country, but could set its path for decades to come. Photographer: Wil Riera/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The reflections of voters are seen outside of a polling station during presidential elections in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Venezuela holds an election Sunday that will be ignored by much of the country, but could set its path for decades to come. Photographer: Wil Riera/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A large billboard for Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's president, sits on a building during presidential elections in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Venezuela holds an election Sunday that will be ignored by much of the country, but could set its path for decades to come. Photographer: Wil Riera/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A voter casts a ballot inside a polling station during presidential elections in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Venezuela holds an election Sunday that will be ignored by much of the country, but could set its path for decades to come. Photographer: Wil Riera/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A voter stands at a booth inside a polling station during presidential elections in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Venezuela�holds an election Sunday that will be ignored by much of the country, but could set its path for decades to come. Photographer: Wil Riera/Bloomberg via Getty Images
National Electoral Council (CNE) officials verify voter's identification with a finger print machine inside a polling center during presidential elections in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Venezuela�holds an election Sunday that will be ignored by much of the country, but could set its path for decades to come. Photographer: Wil Riera/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Voters check a registration list outside of a polling station during presidential elections in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Venezuela�holds an election Sunday that will be ignored by much of the country, but could set its path for decades to come. Photographer: Wil Riera/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Holt's mother Laurie did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The news of Holt's release came a day after Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, met in Caracas with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The pair met less than a week after Maduro won re-election in a vote that the United States did not recognize.

Venezuelan authorities arrested Holt in June 2016 while he was in Venezuela for his wedding. His family says he was framed.

(Reporting by Jonathan Landay; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Chizu Nomiyama)

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