Todd Leininger, 37 years old, an Indiana native, has returned home to the US after spending five years behind Venezuelan bars. According to his family, Todd endured physical and mental illnesses along with lack of medicine and food while being constantly transferred from one prison to another. The State Department of the United States stated that Todd arrived on US soil on Friday, April 26.
Leninger’s family also stated that Todd’s release was a fruition of the collaborative efforts of the Congress Members, public relations representatives, US Hostage team, the Swiss embassy, and the State Department.
Barbara Leininger, Todd’s mother, expressed his joy upon her son’s return, saying that all she ever hoped and thought of over the last five years is Todd’s return back home. She added that the last five years was the longest and most heartbreaking stretch of her life and concluded that she is forever grateful to be together with him again.
Todd Leininger, a dance instructor, was arrested and convicted in Venezuela amidst the country’s anti-government protests in the year 2014. Todd was just traveling in Venezuela as a simple tourist.
Four years after his arrest, May 2018, a Venezuelan judge granted Todd parole due to good behavior. However, he remained imprisoned. Then, six months after he was granted a supposed parole, his release was ordered by a Venezuelan court, but unfortunately, he was not released immediately according to the State Department.
Indiana Sen. Todd Young, a congress member, deemed the Venezuelan authorities’ delayed release of Leininger shameful and disrespectful.
As of today, a great number of Americans are still currently imprisoned in the crisis-struck country of Venezuela. The State Department said that among those imprisoned Americans are a few CITGO employees who have been detained for over a year due to false accusations. They assure that they will continue to work for the release of wrongfully imprisoned Americans in Venezuela like Leininger.