Bring Matthew Home

Campaign Created by: Trudy Rutherford and Connie Haynes
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The funds from this campaign will be received by Trudy Rutherford.
An audio message from Trudy Rutherford and Connie Haynes:  


Goal : $50,000

Raised : $18,736

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Matthew's Story

Matthew is being held in a Venezuela military prison since September 09, 2020 on charges that by all accounts are false. He is being persecuted by the governmental regime in Venezuela for being an American citizen and particularly an American military veteran.

In this Venezuelan prison, families of the incarcerated are responsible for providing food, clothing, medicine and hygiene materials. We, his family, need help to be able to pay for those supplies and for weekly deliveries to him.  Funds are additionally needed to help support Matthew’s young son.

All donations, large or small, are greatly appreciated.

Matthew Heath is a war-time decorated Marine Corps veteran. He earned the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and other decorations for his bravery during the battle of An-Nasiriyah, Iraq during  The Iraq Freedom War.

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Trudy Rutherford 

Thank you,
The Heath Family


Update #118
January 16, 2022
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Matthew's next court date is January 20,2021.

Matthew told his family he believes if the right person would look into his case they would find him innocent and send him home. Hoping justice will prevail.

Update #117
January 7, 2022
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January 6, 2:00 PM Eastern Time. We just received a phone call from Matthew. This was our first contact with him in 2 weeks. Relief.

Update #116
January 1, 2022
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Today starts a new year, hoping Matthew is released soon.We have not had a phone call from Matt in 10 days. He had been calling home every Monday and Friday. We don\'t know what is happening to him in the last 10 days.

To help Matthew call the State Department and your congress  representatives and ask them what they are doing to help get Matthew released.


Update #115
December 25, 2021
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Christmas Eve in Venezuela is a day for family gatherings. Obviously, we have no family there. Today, Matthew's attorney,@guillermoh59,kindly took time away from his own family to visit Matthew and to share a special meal. Thank you Uncle Guillermo.

Update #114
December 19, 2021
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Day 9 of Matthew's NEW trial has been sheduled for Thursday, January 13, 2022. Yes, that's one month from now

Update #113
December 16, 2021
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Article published by AP December 11,2021
copy and paste 

US hostage envoy visited Venezuela to meet jailed Americans | AP News

Update #112
December 15, 2021
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Traveled to Washington DC Monday and met with our National Security Advisor and SPEAH on Matthew’s behalf. Good meetings know our Government is working hard to bring Matthew and all American prisoners home.
Also had a demonstration with other families of hostages in front of the White House. 
Matthew’s show trial continues Thursday 16th. Update as soon as possible.

Update #111
December 11, 2021
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Copy and paste the web address and read the latest article by NBC news

Article by the AP press
US hostage envoy visited Venezuela to meet jailed Americans | AP News

Roger Carstens and his SPEAH staff  visited Matthew Thursday December 9th. He said Matthew looked good as he can under the conditions he is living in. We are grateful for the wellness visit for Matthew. And we are hopefully for a resolution to Matthew being unlawfully detained soon.

We also received a call from Matthew Friday evening and he sounded more hopeful after talking to Mr. Carstens.SPEAHA, also delivered some books to Matthew and a picture of him and his son. Matt expressed his gratitude for everything everyone is doing for him.

Update #110
December 11, 2021
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The Heath family has been informed by
that he was indeed able to conduct a brief wellness check with Matthew during his visit to Venezuela. We continue to be grateful for SPEHA’s assistance with Matthew's case.

Update #109
December 5, 2021
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December 7,2021 Matthew arrived at court early and was able to call his Mother.
One witness for the prosecution gave false testimony Tuesday December 7th. The lady is a DGCIM guard where Matthew is being unlawfully held. How many more will the prosecution have perjure themselves before this trial is over?

Update #107
December 1, 2021
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Day 6 of Matthew's NEW trial convened at 6 pm (Caracas) on Nov 30 and was again relatively uneventful. The proceedings involved somewhat ambiguous testimony from a single witness for the prosecution.
Matthew arrived at court early for trial day 6. He was allowed to call his mother before trial began. The previously seen problems with transporting defendants to court seem to have solved, at least for now.

Update #107
December 1, 2021
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Day 6 of Matthew's NEW trial convened at 6 pm (Caracas) on Nov 30 and was again relatively uneventful. The proceedings involved somewhat ambiguous testimony from a single witness for the prosecution.
Matthew arrived at court early for trial day 6. He was allowed to call his mother before trial began. The previously seen problems with transporting defendants to court seem to have solved, at least for now.

Update #106
November 29, 2021
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Tomorrow 11/30/21 Matthew goes back to court once again. We will have to wait until tomorrow to see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully one day soon they will come to realize the police made a mistake and DEPORT Matthew. 

Update #105
November 25, 2021
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 November 23, 2021

Matthew went to court. Again no witnesses showed up in court to testify for the prosecutor. Court was continued until Tuesday 30th. Don’t know how long this will last. Hopefully the prosecutor will get tired of none of his witnesses showing and drop the charges and deport Matthew.

Update #104
November 23, 2021
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November 20,2021 Matt was able to call his son. This is only the 2nd time he has spoken to his son in almost 16 months. 
Today is day 5 of his fake trial. Time for Venezuela to do the right thing and send Matthew home.

Update #103
November 21, 2021
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Matt called home Friday. He sounded very tired. He said he is having trouble sleeping and he is afraid to take medication. We feel the same way “don’t trust anyone” you don’t really know what they will give him. He said he needs to keep his mind clear not druggy.

Court will continue on Tuesday, November 23. We pray for the best solution to DEPORT Matthew and send him home. He is innocent. Proven fabricated evidence.

Update #102
November 17, 2021
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I spoke with Matthew Monday the 15th and Matthew was upset because someone there at the prison is trying to pressure him to sign a statement, write a statement or video and confess to something he is innocent of. Matthew said to me I will not betray my country. I am innocent. If you see me in a video they have tortured me again into a confession.
We fear for Matthew’s safety at this point again.
Matthew's trial continues but at this time we have not got a date.

Update #101
November 11, 2021
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November 10,2021
Trial continues for Matthew Heath imprisoned in Venezuela | WATE 6 On Your Side
By: Kristine Gallant 11/10/21 
Follow the story on WATE.


Update #100
November 11, 2021
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WATE update on Matthew 3rd story in line 
copy and paste link below to hear the update.

Update #99
November 10, 2021
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November 09, 2021 WBIR latest news report on Matthew 
copy and paste

Update #98
November 3, 2021
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Tuesday November 2, 2021 was the day the prosecutor was to put their evidence in front of the court. They did not because they don’t have any evidence to convict Matthew on the charges he is being charged with. Matthew is a hostage of the Maduro regime because he is a US citizen.

Update #97
November 1, 2021
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Matthew’s trial is supposed to start again tomorrow. The prosecutor is supposed to put forward their case. All the evidence has been proven fabricated by Dr. Heredia so we are not sure what to expect.

Update #96
October 25, 2021
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Today an open letter to President Biden from 26 family member of hostages/unlawful detainees. Many news outlets carrierd the story. Here is the one from ABC.
copy and paste to read the article.

Update #95
October 22, 2021
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October 21,2021
Copy and paste link below to read the open letter from the 9 families to President Biden.
This is in response to our perceived lack of actions on the part of the Biden Administration towards bringing Matthew and the other 8 Americans wrongfully held in Venezuela back home to the US.

Update #94
October 15, 2021
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The latest article published about the difficulties associated with engaging with the US Government to get Matthew home.
Copy and paste to read article.

Update #93
October 9, 2021
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Warhammer Gamers One of your own needs your help. Even small monetary donations to Matt's Givesendgo fund from players will help to supply food and medicine to Matthew.
Please help spread the word.

Update #92
October 7, 2021
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Court was postponed again today not a surprise. One of the defendants attorney was sick with COVID  but he had a attorney there to represent him but he refused. Rescheduled for the 19th of October.

Update #91
October 2, 2021
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Another fundraiser in Union County, Matthew's home town. BIG thanks to everyone who donated to help keep supply being delivered to Matthew. Food, medicine, and all necessities for everyday life.
Winner of the quilt hand made by Matthew's Mother : Alexie Stinnett

Update #90
September 30, 2021
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A bit of good news, for a change! Matthew was allowed a short telephone call to his young son late Monday the 27th afternoon. Smiles all around!

Court should start next week on the 7th if they decide to have court. Who knows??

Update #89
September 21, 2021
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Once again today Matthew's trial was postponed. They didn't transfer all the defendants to the court hearing. They do not want to have this trial. Once again Matthew and the other 9 defendants are not getting due process because they can't prove the charges against them. Instead of releasing the prisioners they keep putting off the trial. Rescheduled for October 7th.

Update #88
September 19, 2021
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MatthewHeath unjustly detained in Venezuela : There are less complicated and pain inducing ways to send messages than “playing” with the lives of innocent people. I would suggest trying the telephone, texting, fax, email, going on a nice holiday together or even Twitter.
Matthew's new trial is scheduled for Tuesday will they transport everyone or not.

Update #87
September 15, 2021
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Matthew called yesterday to tell his father happy birthday and send love to all the family and especially his son. Matthew's new trial will start Tuesday September 21, 2021,. Hopefully they will take him to the court house this time without more delays.

Update #86
September 15, 2021
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Matthew called yesterday to tell his father happy birthday and send love to all the family and especially his son. Matthew's new trial will start Tuesday September 2, 2021,. Hopefully they will take him to the court house this time without more delays.

Update #85
September 6, 2021
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Today was a good day. Matthew called his father and he had a good conversation with him.
Sounds good to hear his voice. He said he is well and not sick. This is a good thing to know. 
Hopefully he will be able to call at least once a week. This is what his attorney said he got worked out with the DGCIM. Hopefully this will be the truth. We will have to wait and see. 

Update #84
September 5, 2021
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We would like to thank every one that donated to Matthew's fundraiser at the Union County Thunder Road festival September the 4th. 
Donations $257.00
Winner of the Quilt that Matthew's Mother made Tina Nape, congratulations.

Update #83
September 2, 2021
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On August 30, 2021 

I received a phone call from Matthew. He tried to call his father but his phone was not working at the time, You can only imagine the anger his dad had to find out his phone was on airplane mode at the time. Also tried to call his mother and he couldn't remember the number so I was the lucky one to get to talk to him. 
He said he was healthy he sounded healthy. We had not heard from his in 10 weeks and his attorney had not been allowed to see him. They were telling the attorney that Matt was protesting and didn't want to speak to anyone or see his attorney. We know this is complete non-sense he would not refuse to see his attorney or call his family.
It had been so long we ask for proof of life because there is no telling what could happen in 1 week much less 10. 
The new trial is tomorrow September 2nd and hopefully they will take Matthew to court. The last few times they refused to take him. To force the trial to start over.


Update #82
August 30, 2021
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Matthew has not been seen by anyone outside of the DGCIM guards in 10 weeks.
His attorney Dr. Hederia has been told every week that Matthew is refusing to see his attorney.

We believe the DGCIM is telling Matthew his attorney has abandoned him and they tell Dr. Heredia that Matthew is refusing to see him. We do not believe that Matthew would turn down a visit with his attorney especially since Matthew has a new trial starting Thursday September 2. They are trying to put a wedge between him and his attorney.

Update #81
August 25, 2021
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Latest article published by The Miami Herald
Copy and paste in your browser to read one in Spanish use google crome to translate. There are some differences in the 2 stories.

Article by: McClatchey   no subscription needed

Update #80
August 25, 2021
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Latest article published by The Miami Herald
Copy and paste in your browser to read one in Spanish use goodle crome to translate. There are some differences in the 2 stories.

Update #79
August 21, 2021
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Day 1 in Washington, DC. Visited US State Department. Knocking on doors to tell Matthew's story.

Day 2 in Washington DC. Visited the office of Tennessee Congressman Chuck Fleischmann. Representative  Fleischmann has been a staunch and valued supporter for Matthew from the beginning!

Day 3 in Washington DC. Visited the office of Tennessee Senator Bill Hagerty to discuss Matthew's detention. Support from our home state is both critical to our cause and greatly appreciated. Many thanks to the Senator's staff!

Day 3 in Washington DC. On short notice, Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn made her DC staff available to us for an update on Matthew's status. We are greatly encouraged by, and appreciative of, Senator Blackburn's support.

Washington DC day 4. Matthew's mother arrived in DC for the 2021 James W. Foley Freedom Awards. We are grateful to the Foley Foundation for their assistance with Matthew's case and for the opportunity to attend the awards ceremony.

Washington DC day 4. When Matthew's mother arrived in DC she wasted no time and immediately started telling Matthew's story.

Washington DC day 5. Matthew's mother after a long afternoon of multi-departmental meetings at the White House. Still working hard.

We are very thankfull for all the support of all our Tennessee Congressional representatives, our nonprofit NGO's and our goverment agencies working hard to bring Matthew home to his family.

Copy and past in browser and see some of our pictures. I will be adding a tab for all the pictures at a later date.

Update #78
August 7, 2021
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Matthew's court hearing has been scheduled  for September 2nd. What will the fake evidence be this time? Hopefully they will take him to the trial and decide he is more trouble than he is worth and deport him. I know, wishful thinking.

Update #77
August 4, 2021
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Wednesday August 3rd was the day for attorney visitation. Dr. Heredia went to see Matthew but he is told Matthew will not see him. This is a lie, who would not see the only person in the whole country that is allowed to visit him? They tell Matthew one thing and tell the attorney something else. Always lying to someone. Matthew refusing to go to court is another lie and telling Matthew the court has been rescheduled. Dr. Heredia goes again to see Matthew today and they still refusing to let Matthew see his attorney. Matthew has not had a visit at the DGCIM in 7 weeks.
What are they hiding?

Update #76
July 29, 2021
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Matthew's court hearing was postponed once again. Now they will have to start the trial over again. Matthew was told Wednesday night the court hearing. was postponed but we didn't know this until today.Not sure why they are putting his trial off and wanting to start it again.
The evidence is still the same going MADE UP.
This was proven by Dr. Hederia, Matthew's attorney and it will be proven again.

Update #75
July 27, 2021
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Today we want to thank the James Foley Foundation they have posted about Matthew on their website,Twitter and Instagram accounts to highlight his situation in Venezuela. We are thankful for all of  their support and assistance. Copy and paste into your browser.

Update #74
July 27, 2021
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Matthew was put in a small cell with his hands cuffed for 5 days for punishment. They are still trying to brake him. Hard to break an innocent man. 

Update #73
July 24, 2021
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Matthew Heath unjustly detained in Venezuela: For the past 2 days, we have been uncertain about Matthew’s location. We think that he is still at DGCIM Boleita. The DGCIM continues to ignore court orders to empty Boleita and relocate Matthew and other Boleita detainees.
They are refusing to take Matthew to court and telling he is refusing. This is not true they are keeping him from going to court so they can start the trial over and bring in more false witnesses.
Matthew called his father on the day of the trial. We believe this call was made under duress. He said that things were better there. We know that this is not true. When you are confined to a room that is 6x6 feet with no natural light things are not better.

Update #72
July 21, 2021
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Tomorrow is the rescheduled date for court July 22. Hopefully Matthew has calmed down enough to go and maybe they will transfer him like they said they were going to. Keeping him at the DGCIM is torture every day, that is a hell hole. No one should be put in a place like that. NO sun light, restricted visitation and no phone calls. 

Update #71
July 16, 2021
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Miami Herald news article on Matthew. Court was rescheduled until July 22. Matthew refused to go to court because of living conditions and his health deteriorating. Matthew was susposed to be moved to another prison and they are not moving him. Only about a dozen men are left at the DGCIM continususly being tortured on a daily basis. 
When is enough, enough?

Copy and paste web address below.

Update #70
July 13, 2021
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Matthew's trial was suspended today until July 22nd 

Update #69
July 12, 2021
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Matthew’s attorney has confirmed that trial remains scheduled to resume tomorrow, July 13. If any changes occur, we will issue a tweet. We have no idea what to expect, but we know they are innocent. Please keep them in mind.
We suspect they will sentence Matthew pretty quickly. We have faith no matter what time they give him it is just a number. Our government will bring Matthew home.

Update #68
July 9, 2021
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Happy Birthday to Matthew. On this day 40 years ago you came in to this world and made it better for all of us. Can't wait until Matt is home to have a real celebration. 

Update #67
July 7, 2021
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Tuesday July 6th was the start of Matthew's trial. Dr. Heredia presented a strong case for Matthew's innocence and he clearly demonstrated that all the evidence against him was fabricated. The police report filed on September 9 2020 showed that Matthew had nothing with him but a cell phone, credit cards and $20.00.The prosecutor brought in what was probably a paid witness, a police officer, to state he arrested Matthew on the 11th of September. By doing so they falsified the original arrest records.

The Venezulans continue to charge Matthew with treason. Apparently they don't understand that only citizens of a country can be charged with treason. They continue to charge Matthew with terrorism and espionage. What will they charge him with next... jaywalking?

The Venezuelans also more or less admitted in court to holding Matthew as a POLITICAL PRISONER to use as a pawn to get concessions from the US.
Next court date is Tuesday 13th. We have been told this is the day they will convict Matthew.

Update #66
July 7, 2021
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Tuesday July 6th was the start of Matthew's trial. Dr. Heredia presented a strong case for Matthew's innocence and he clearly demonstrated that all the evidence against him was fabricated. The police report filed on September 9 2020 showed that Matthew had nothing with him but a cell phone, credit cards and $20.00.The prosecutor brought in what was probably a paid witness, a police officer, to state he arrested Matthew on the 11th of September. By doing so they falsifed the original arrest records.

The Venezulans continue to charge Matthew with treason. Apparently they don't understand that only citizens of a country can be charged with treason. They continue to charge Matthew with terrorism and espionage. What will they charge him with next... jaywalking?

The Venezuelans also more or less admitted in court to holding Matthew as a POLITICAL PRISONER to use as a pawn to get concessions from the US.
Next court date is Tuesday 13th. We have been told this is the day they will convict Matthew.

Update #65
July 2, 2021
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No new news this week. Waiting to see if they have Matthew's trial Tuesday July 6th. Or will they find another reason to put it off?

Update #64
June 28, 2021
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Copy and paste the link below and read the published article that gives the Heath family view of Matthew's story, including the view of his mother.

Update #63
June 22, 2021
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News story that came out on the 19th Does Maduro really want to talk?
Copy and paste.

Update #62
June 20, 2021
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June 20,2021

We found out why Matthew got to talk with his attorney Tuesday the 15th. Matthew went on a hunger strike and refused his food and banged on the cell walls for 3 days straight. That is how long it took for them to accept that Matthew will not give up until he got to speak with his Attorney before his trial.

Update #61
June 18, 2021
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June 18th

Matthew's trial has been rescheduled for the 29th. We have been informed that he is going to be moved to Carcel la Plata. We have been told this place is for foreigners annex of minimum security that are in transition with immigration problems or custom problems.
Easy access for the attorney to see Matthew. He may be able to have a telephone there and be able to call his son and family.

Update #60
June 17, 2021
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June 17th

Matthews trial was posponed due to all the defendents not being present today.
They were not brought to court. Wonder Why?
Dr. Guillermo had paper work signed and Matthew's transfer to Ramo Verde all legeally documented today and had paper work in hand, When he left Matthew today they said they were moving him to Plant to the annex for foreigners, a common prison where the gangs run the prison..
Matthew is not a criminal and don't belong in this kind of enviroment.

Update #59
June 17, 2021
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June 16th

news story for the Freebeacon
copy and past in your browser

Update #58
June 17, 2021
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June 17th
News story 
copy and paste line in browser

Update #57
June 17, 2021
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youtube video of Dr, Heredia talking about Matthew's trial.
Sorry in Spanish but it is media cover which is what we need.

copy and paste in your browser

Update #56
June 11, 2021
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June 10,2021

On June 9, 2021 The James Foley Foundation sponsored a virtual seminar entitled "Bringing Americans Home 2021". This seminar addressed many issues associated with American Hostages, wrongful detainees, families, NGOs and government agencies. Matthew is mentioned by name in this seminar by Mickey Bergman with the Richardson Center. To watch the full hour long seminar click in the youtube link provided below.
Copy and past link below into your browser.

Update #55
June 8, 2021
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June 8, 2021

Dr. Heredia has located Matthew, He has not been moved from the DGCIM. Probably because they decided to start Matthew's trial on the 17th next week. Dr Heredia collected all of Matthew's belongings last week for the move so he would have them at the other facility. Now that he was not moved Matthew has not seen his attorney since last week. He didn't deliver food Monday either because he didn't know where Matthew was. When they moved the other PP they would get them unannounced and they were not allowed to take their belongings. There for they would have to buy everything again.
Psychological torture...Every day something...

Update #54
June 7, 2021
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June 7,2021
Matthew was supposed to have been move last Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
All of his belongings have been removed (food,cloths, hygiene items and books from him. All he has is his mattress, pillow and maybe a blanket.) He attorney has his items because they would come in and take the prisoners unannounced and would not let them get their belongings to take the other facility. At this point we do not know where Matthew is. His attorney does not know where he is. We don't know if Matthew has food at this time because Monday is delivery day for food and the Attorney was in court all day with Matthew's apeal hearing.
They have set Matthew's trial for June 17th next week.

Update #53
May 31, 2021
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May 30 2021,

Matthew's attorney went to see him Sunday on family day and they would not let him in to see Matthew.
Matthew had ask Dr. Heredia to bring him some medicine for headaches. Matthew continues to have headaches regularly probably due to the extensive torture he endured, as well as the continued high stress environment he is in. We are very worried about his health. Dr. Heredia was able to send the medicine in through other means. Hopefully Matthew was able to receive the medicine he needs.


Update #52
May 22, 2021
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We have been told Matthew is being moved from the DGCIM to Ramo Verde military Prison. Everyone is being moved out of the DGCIM. Under the Ministry of Defense. His Attorney will still be able to see him at this location. 

Update #51
May 17, 2021
facebook twitter

Today Tamara Suju Roa with the CASLA Institute, in a Twitter post, provided a graphic description of the torture to which Matthew was subjected during the early part of his incarceration in Venezuela by the DGCIM (Venezuelan military intelligence). This treatment can only be described as pure evil performed by less than human individuals.

Venezuela #USA #3Slide Chain of command of the Arbitrary Detention, Forced Disappearance, Torture and Sexual Violence (criminal attempt) of the US citizen MATTEW JOHN HEATH, arrested on 9/9/20. He was suffocated, electrocuted, beaten & locked up in low temp. cells. (Translated from
Spanish by Google)

We have posted the original "card" from Twitter on Matthew's blog. To see that card please fillow the link below.

Update #50
May 15, 2021
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It appears that Matthew’s cell location has changed at DGCIM Boletia. We have heard that he is now kept in an above ground cell, instead of in the “dungeon”

Update #49
May 13, 2021
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Matthew Heath incarcerated in Venezuela: Dr Guillermo Heredia continues to work diligently on Matthew’s behalf to demonstrate his innocence and to defend his rights as a human being before the Venezuelan courts. The Heath family is grateful for his efforts.

Update #48
May 6, 2021
facebook twitter

May 06,2020
The Amer Fakhoury Foundation has published an article on Matthew. His story is the spot light story for the Month of May. Copy and paste on the link and read Matthew's story and Mr. Fakhoury story
We are thankful for the Fakhoury foundation for taking an interest in Matthews situation.


Update #47
May 4, 2021
facebook twitter

May 03,2021

It has now been more than 3 weeks since Matthew’s attorney has been able to see him. He will keep trying. Currently many unknowns. Deliveries of necessities to #DGCIM #Boleita for Matthew continue, but we aren't sure that they reach him.
Matthew was able to call his attorney and verify to him he was getting his supplies, but since the new commander of the facility has taken over there has been little to no contact with Matthew.

Update #46
April 30, 2021
facebook twitter

April 29,2021
Dr. Heredia, Matthew's attorney went to visit with him Wednesday on the biweekly visit. He was not able to see Matthew. He said that by the time he got inside the prison the visitation time was up. There was so many attorneys there that not everyone got in and there was a lot of things going on. Lots of confusion and moving prisoners around. This is another way of psychological torture for the inmates.

Update #45
April 25, 2021
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April 25,2021
No communication last week. Maduro has closed everything for 7 days and open 7 days.
Per virus escalation in the country. Food and supplies are still allowed to be delivered, but food and supplies are becoming hard to get.

Very worried about being able to continue getting food to Matthew and all the other Political Prisoners.

Update #44
April 18, 2021
facebook twitter

April 18,2021

Matthew's attorney was able to deliver a picture of Mathew's son to him on Monday April 12th.
According to Matthew's attorney he received the picture and was very grateful and extremely 
happy to see a picture of his son. Matthew has not had contact with his son or family since 
his detainment in September 2020.
Looking forward to the day when Matthew is allowed to do a zoom call with his family.

Update #43
April 16, 2021
facebook twitter

April 15,2021

Matthew's attorney was able to visit him today. First time in about 3 weeks. Dr Heredia was also able to deliver his food and supplies to him on Monday.
Matthew seemed to be in good health per his attorney.
Many thanks to Dr. Heredia for taking care of Matthew. He has treated Matthew as if he was his own family member. 
Dr. Heredia is the only person allowed to see Matthew, since Matthew has no family members in the country Dr. Hederia is allowed to visit Matthew on family days when the facility is not in lockdown.

Update #42
April 10, 2021
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April 9th,2021

The DGCIM is still in lock down no visits again this week.

Update #41
April 4, 2021
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April 4,2021

No new news Matthew's attorney has not had contact with Matthew for a while since the prison is locked down due to the spike in the Covid virus.

Hopefully he will be able to drop off food  and supplies Monday.

Update #40
April 1, 2021
facebook twitter

April 1,2021
We have recently learned how Matthew ended up in Venezuela. According to a CASLA filing with the United Nations, Matthew was kidnapped by presently unknown agents in Columbia. The Heath family was under the impression that the substantial amount of money sent to Matthew during late spring through the end of summer of 2020 was for him to try to get home. We now understand that money was going to the people who were holding him hostage. When the Heath family ran out of money Matthew was essentially sold to the Maduro regime in Venezuela, probably through the Venezuelan military intelligence agency (DGCIM).
We think this has become an all too common occurrence in Columbia and Venezuela. We have indications that this has happened to other people as well.

Update #39
March 27, 2021
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MARCH 24,2021

Dr. Heredia, Matthew's attorney attempted to visit him Wednesday for attorney visit. He was denied due to the high volume of Covid cases. Prayers to all prisoners to stay healthy. There will be no medical help for these unlawfully detained men and women.

Update #38
March 22, 2021
facebook twitter

The following information is taken from a document filed by Tamara Suju 
on behalf of Matthew Heath with the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights United Nations Office at Geneva, 8-14 , Avenue de la Paix 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
1. Date of arrest: 09/09/2020 
2. Place of arrest: Control Point of the GNB “Los Pedros”, Punto Fijo, Falcón State, when it was going from the Venezuelan Guajira to the coast of said State, to leave by sea to the Island of Aruba, where his ship was anchored, after being freed from a kidnapping.
 3. Forces that carried out the arrest or are believed to have carried out: General Military      Counterintelligence Division (DGCIM) 
4. Did they show an order or other decision from a public authority? DO NOT.
 5. Authority that issued the order or decision: There was no arrest warrant.
 6. The reasons for the arrest alleged by the authorities: By the time it became known that Matthew John Heath was in custody, 5 days after his arrest, Prosecutor Tarek William Saab alleged that the victim was carrying out "espionage activities." and "destabilization", with the support of "stateless" Venezuelan military personnel.
The victim and his companions remained "disappeared" for 5 days before the Venezuelan authorities recognized that they had been detained, at which time he was also tortured. Prosecutor Tarek William Saab, held a press conference on September 14, where he reported for the first time about this arrest, and said that the victim was carrying out "espionage activities" and "destabilization" with the support of "stateless" soldiers. Venezuelans, in his own words, without describing the evidence to base said arguments, but referring to a satellite phone and alleged photographs that the detainees had of oil facilities in both states. According to William Saab, Matthew John Heath had entered Venezuela through theGuajira border axis Colombian-Venezuelan, to "obtain strategic information" from the Amuay Refining Complex, "in order to carry out possible sabotage actions." In addition, he referred to the fact that the victim was linked to the CIA, because they had gotten him a "coin" with that symbol (like the souvenir ones). Importantly, Matthew John Heath is a former US military man. All this happened in the midst of tensions between the US and Venezuelan governments, and the accusations against said government by Nicolás Maduro, who held him responsible for a gasoline shortage that he attributes to US sanctions and not to inefficiency, deterioration, incapacity and neglect that the Venezuelan oil industry has suffered in the last 15 years. In fact, the Paraguaná refiner, which the Maduro government argues that the victim and the other detainees were spying, has been almost entirely paralyzed for several years. 

TORTURE: During the 5 days that Matthew John Heath remained “disappeared”, he was tortured, still without understanding for not speaking the Spanish language, which the officials who tortured him demanded. The intention and objective of the Torture was to obtain from the victim (Matthew) a statement saying that he was a CIA agent and that the US government knew of his activities. They put a gun to his head to try to force him, and they told him they were going to kill him if he didn't speak it. During the first 24 hours, he was tortured with electric shocks, beaten all over his body (except for his face), suffocated with plastic bags, locked in a very cold room and bathed in cold water. The day after his arrest, he was transferred to the city of Caracas, in a plane and taken to the DGCIM located in the Boleíta Norte urbanization, where he was tortured again, beaten multiple times and threatened to rape him, which provoked to avoid it, that the victim gave them the password to your phone. The officials tried to force Matthew to write in a book that was put before him, which was from the CIA, which Matthew did not do. On two more occasions during these months of detention, Matthew has been locked up in the cell that the CASLA Institute has called "the Doll Box", a place located in Basement 3 itself, in which he apparently previously kept a Electric Plant, which measures 60 centimeters wide by 60 centimeters long and 2.75 meters high.
Which has no ventilation or light. In this place, detainees are punished for one, two or three days, having to stand still without being able to move and with a terrible feeling of suffocation, relieving themselves of the needs.
Heath Family Comments:
All the evidence that they presented at the hearing against Matthew has been proven falsified by Matthew’s Attorney Dr. Heredia
Who knows what sort of fantasy they will come up with next to charge Matthew with, since the case they presented at the hearing has been proven false?

Update #37
March 20, 2021
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March 20,2021

We have now established bi-weekly updates from the State Department about Matthew's case.

News has been slow from Venezeula because over the last few weeks Venzeuela, Russia, and Iranian having military activity.

Update #36
March 18, 2021
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March 17,2021

Matthew's attorney, Dr. Heredia,  has not heard any news about Matthew's recently filed appeal. They had shut down the Judicial Dispatch due to the week of restrictions (state of alert), presumably due to joint Venezuelan, Russian and Iranian joint military exercises. 


Update #35
March 13, 2021
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March 12,2021

Hearing from home immediately lifted Matthew's spirits.
was finally allowed access to letters from home!  Dr Heredia noted that
the Heath family that after many delays and much negotiation, Matthew
This past week, Matthew's attorney, Dr Guillermo Heredia, reported to

Finally, we have some truly good news to report!

Dr Heredia also indicated that after some early delivery problems,
Matthew is now also receiving his weekly "care packages".  Although each
package is different in content, they provide us a way to make sure that
Matthew has supplemental food supplies, hygiene necessities and
clothing.  Dr Heredia prepares the packages and arranges for delivery.

As you might imagine, during these times, we take great pleasure in
small advances. In that regard, we are thankful for all of the support
that we are getting as a family and we are additionally grateful for the
support and assistance from Dr Heredia, the CASLA human rights

observatory, the Richardson Center for Global Engagement, Congressman
Fleischmann (TN), Senator Hagerty (TN) and various components of the US

Update #34
March 3, 2021
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March 02

New details of Matthew's traffic stop. Copy and paste the web address in your browser

Update #33
March 2, 2021
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March 02 2021

Matthew's father Robert pleads with the Biden Administratio to bring Matthew home 
copy and paste in your browser the link to read the article written by:Journalist Jack Beyer.

Update #32
March 2, 2021
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Matthew's attorney, Dr Guillermo Heredia, has successfully obtained the original police report from Matthew's arrest in Venezuela.  That initial report makes no mention of weapons, explosives or large amounts of cash as later stipulated by Venezuelan authorities, particularly the DGCIM (Venezuelan military intelligence).  As best we know, Matthew was arrested on Sept. 8, 2020.  The report was filed on Sept. 9, 2020.  The Venezuelan press release about the arrest appeared in the press on Sept. 10, 2020.  It seems that between the time of the arrest and the time of the press release, Venezuelan authorities found it necessary to fabricate evidence against Matthew.

The arrest report, as received from Matthew's attorney, was in Spanish.  For convenience, contents of the report are given below in both English and Spanish.

English Translation

CZGNB-13 (Falcón)
  14:00 Hrs.


09SEP20 CZGNB-13 D-134 2DO PLTON 3RA CIA, Los Pedros. Resp. Inf.
Complying with instructions from Cddno M / G Fabio Enrique Zavarce
Pavón, Commander General of the GNB, and under the guidelines of Cddno G
/ B Nilton Ademir Cobo Murillo Commander of CZGNB-13 (Falcón) Personnel
in security patrol work made the arrest of one (01) vehicle, arauca
model, AH642ZA plates, where four (04) cddnos were transferred:
3) SM / 3. DARWIN ADREIZO URDANETA PARDO, C.I.V- 17.497.977, Plaza de la
4ta CIA, D-113, CZGNB-11 (Zulia),
4) HEATH MATTEW JONH, of State nationality, with identity document no.
088390326, former Marine Corps combatant in Iraq.

  Evidence seized:
  - (01) Satellite Phone.
- (03) Credit Cards
- (01) vehicle brand chery, model arauca
- (03) cell phones.

Taken actions:
- The documents and evidence were delivered to the DGCIM headquarters,
to continue with the rigorous investigations.
- The higher command was informed.

Update #31
February 28, 2021
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What is the Biden Administraion doing to Bring Matthew Home?

Update #30
February 25, 2021
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Matthew John Heath is being held in Venezuela Prison under false charges.
During Matthew’s February 24, 2021 appearance before Tribunal in Venezuela, it came to light that he has been tortured in unthinkable ways during his captivity.  Torture methods to which he was subjected, that we know of, include electrocution, being severely beaten and suffocation. Apparently, the initial torture sessions took place for 8 days.
Venezuelan authorities attempted to get Matthew to confess to crimes that he did not commit and to being a US Government agent.  Given the length of time before anyone other than Venezuelan authorities were allowed to see Matthew, we strongly suspect that he was subjected to additional torture and interrogation sessions well byond those initial 8 days. Those sessions included having a gun held to his head.and threatened with rape, Matthew still would not confess to the false statements.
The Heath family asks President Biden and the Federal Agencies involved with Venezuela and Matthew’s case “what would you be doing if this was your son, talk about Global warming?
Its time to open Dialogue with Maduro and trade his family members for the 9 US citizens they have.


Update #29
February 25, 2021
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  Venezuelan justice will try a US citizen for "Treason to the Nation."

 The CASLA Institute has denounced today before the International Criminal Court, the Arbitrary Detention, Temporary Forced Disappearance and Torture of the American Matthew John Heath and his going to trial without procedural guarantees or the right to defense.

 Last night, February 24, Judge Carol Padilla, of the 1st Special Court of First Instance for Control, ordered the passage of Matthew John Heath to trial, inadmitting all the defense evidence and denying him the right to a  private translator, accusing him of Terrorism, Criminal Association, Possession of Explosives and Treason, Matthew John Heath being a United States citizen.  The defense attorney, Dr. Guillermo Heredia, managed to get John Heath to testify, being the only defendant who could do so at said hearing.

 Matthew was tortured by DGCIM officials during the 8 days that he remained “disappeared” in September 2020, receiving multiple blows, electric shocks, asphyxia with plastic bags, death threats and threats of rape, with the sole purpose of achieving  to admit being a CIA agent and to validate the accusation of the Venezuelan regime, which without any proof, accused him of carrying out espionage and destabilization activities in the country.  John Heath has also been locked up twice in the cell called by CASLA as "The Doll Box" whose measurements are 60 x 60 x 2.75 meters high and he has been prevented from speaking during the 6 months he has been detained  with your family on the phone.

 The judge admitted all the evidence presented by the prosecution, including those that the defense had contested, and rejected all the evidence presented by the defense, and also imposed a DGCIM official as a translator.

 Matthew John Heath has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

 CASLA will exercise, together with the defense of Mr. John Heath, all the actions that must be carried out to report his case in the international bodies for protection and reporting.

Update #28
February 25, 2021
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FEB 24th
Matt's hearing is still going it will probably go all night.

All prayers needed at this time.
Thanks the Heath family

Update #27
February 23, 2021
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Subsequent to last week’s aborted Tribunal hearing, Matthew’s attorney, Dr Guillermo Heredia, was called back for into chambers where Venezuelan authorities attempted to prevent him from communicating by electronic means (email, text, etc) with Matthew’s father, Robert Heath. Such actions would both hinder the defense process and prevent Matthew from receiving communications from family at home.

Dr. Heredia then file a complaint with the Tribunal stating that in accordance with proper lines of protocol, he had been recognized by the Tribunal as Matthew’s attorney, that Matthew’s father had been established as Matthew’s legal representative and that attorney-client relationship between him and Matthew’s father was well established.  Therefore, all relationships were in accordance with recognized legal processes and procedures.

The result of the exchange was that Venezuelan authorities have stipulated that all future communications sent from home to Matthew, through Dr Heredia, should be limited in content to simple salutations.

Update #26
February 22, 2021
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Ned Price
United States government official
U.S. citizen Matthew Heath has been held in Venezuela since last year. We call on Venezuelan authorities to ensure that he receives a transparent, fair, and public hearing that respects all fair trial guarantees.
12:42 PM · Feb 22, 2021·Twitter for iPhone

Update #25
February 22, 2021
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Matthew's mom had a phone interview copy and paste the link below.

Update #24
February 18, 2021
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Feb. 17th

Matthew’s hearing by Tribunal in Venezuela has been rescheduled for February 24, 2021.  We had thought that Matthew would not be allowed to have legal representation before the Tribunal.  However his attorney, Dr Guillermo Heredia, successfully gained access to today’s hearing and brought to light failings in procedural protocols that necessitated that the hearing be rescheduled.

A curious aspect of the hearing today was that the date and time for the proceedings were not well communicated in advance, leaving little time for some of the attorneys, and their clients, to adequately prepare statements and defense positions.  Attorneys for some individuals were quite pressed to make it to the Tribunal at all.  The Heath family certainly hopes that this lack of communication was a simple oversight within the Venezuelan judicial system.

Dr. Heredia is making a point to defend Matthew’s rights available to him under Venezuelan Constitutional Law.  Over the past couple of months, he has been able to secure Matthew’s right to independent legal representation of his choice and to have an independent, trusted translator made available to him.  On December 24 of last year, Dr Heredia successfully had Matthew’s Tribunal-appointed attorney removed from the case after having filed all appropriate documents required to represent Matthew and he subsequently asserted himself as Matthew’s Tribunal recognized legal counsel.

Also on Feb. 17th:  Press release by TN Congressman Chuck Fleischmann

Fleischmann Statement on Matthew Heath’s Continued Detainment in Venezuela
February 17, 2021 
Press Release
CHATTANOOGA, TN — U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann (TN-03) issued the following statement after the court hearing in Venezuela regarding Matthew Heath’s detainment by the Maduro regime:
“We are approaching six months since Matthew Heath was unjustly detained by the Maduro regime in Venezuela. My office is monitoring developments from today’s hearing and I remain deeply concerned about Mr. Heath’s ability to receive due process. The Maduro regime has not been transparent about this case or adhered to international norms for this court case. My office remains in contact with the Heath family, the Department of State, and the United States Embassy in Bogotá, Colombia. I will continue to monitor this case and push for Mr. Heath’s release so that he can be safely reunited with his family here in East Tennessee.”

Update #23
February 14, 2021
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As our family member, Matthew John Heath, approaches six months of
incarceration in Venezuela, the Heath family thinks it important to
acknowledge organizations, both public and private, who are assisting us
though these difficult times.  On this occasion, we wish to express our
gratitude to the Richardson Center for Global Engagement for their
support and assistance in attempting to secure Matthew's release.

Update #22
February 13, 2021
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Feb 13th
Matthew has a preliminarty hearing set for the Feb.17, the attorney is trying to get it moved out because this is Carnival week in Venezeuea and most people are out of town. He want to be able to call witnesses to the stand. 

Update #21
February 11, 2021
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February 9th
The attorney is requesting for Matthew to be moved to another cell in the detention complex. This is an area where international and high ranking officers are kept. We have ask what is the benefit of Matt moving up another floor. We will keep you posted as we get the answer.

In his last supply delivery he did receive pencil and paper to write with. He has not been allowed to have this before. Contact with his attorney phone call 2 x a week plus 1 official visit.
The attorney has said that with Matthew's (positive) attitude is why he continues to have contact with family thru letters and access to his attorney, and in the future his family, under certain security norms and restrictions may be able to visit.


Update #20
February 9, 2021
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On January 25, 2021, the Heath family attempted to contact Nicolas
Maduro, President of Venezuela, directly.  That attempt was Robert
Heath, Matthew's father, and Connie Haynes, Matthew's mother, both of
whom wrote letters directly to President Maduro.

In those letters, Matthew's mother and father made note that they
understood that Matthew had entered Venezuela illegally and noted that
Matthew was simply desperate to get back his grandmother had
died, and the family was waiting for Matthew to get home to have funeral services.
Robert and Connie are certain that Matthew was unaware that crossing the border would result
in months of imprisonment.  In that light, the Heath's asked President
Maduro to treat Matthew's lapse in judgement the way that most countries
around the world would.  That would be to deport him.

Robert and Connie asked President Maduro to show mercy and compassion
and to demonstrate that he and the country of Venezuela value a place in
the global community.  The Heaths indicated to President Maduro that
they understand that he has the ability to allow Matthew to return
home.  And, they hope that he is willing to make that happen.

As of the writing of this update (February 08, 2021), President Maduro,
or representatives of President Maduro, have not replied to the Heaths
letters to him.

Update #19
February 8, 2021
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Big Thanks to our supporters Amanda,Amy, and Tiffany for the letters to their Congressman.
They actually got a response back.
They said they were discussing the issue at their level and are working on it.

Also thanks to everyone else who wrote letter and didn't get a response.

Update #18
February 8, 2021
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On Januay 25, 2021 Matthew's Mom and Dad sent personal letters to Maduro.
Waiting on a response back.

Update #17
February 7, 2021
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updated E-mail address for Matthew's letters 
incorrect address before,

Update #16
February 6, 2021
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We have started a blog about Matthew.
To go to that web site (blog), copy and paste the following link into the address bar of your web browser.


Update #15
February 5, 2021
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February 3, 2021

Matthew confirmed to his attorney he had received food and supplies on Febuary 1st and about 12 letters from family and friends.
Thanks to all his friends who have written him.
If you would like to send a note to Matthew he would grately appreciated it.
The attorney also said he is in good spirits emotionally and mentally and he is keeping a positive attitude.

E-mail letter to his father and he will send them to the attorney.
This is the only way for Matthew to get letters to him.


Update #14
February 5, 2021
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January 27,2021

Matthew told his attorney he was taken out side for religious service on the terrace with some other men on January 24th. This is the first time this has been allowed at any Venezulan Prison.
Hopefully he will be able to continue this on a weekly basis.

Update #13
January 31, 2021
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On January 30th Matt's Mom and I had an interview with Amelia Young with WBIR for an update on Matthew's 
copy and past the link into your browser for the whole story

Congressman Fleischmann in a statement to WBIR said “There’s a lot of domestic turmoil there. That gives me a cause of concern for Matthew and his safety," said Fleischmann. “We’re going to make sure we use every means legally available"

Update #12
January 31, 2021
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On January 28th and 29 WATE, Knoxville ran a news story about Matt.

Their story was entitled: ‘Fabricated charges’: Rep. Fleischmann joins effort to free East TN man from Venezuela prison

In his statement to WATE, Congressman Fleischmann appealed directly to Secretary of State Antony Blinken stating, "Dear Secretary Blinken: I write to you to express my deep concern regarding American citizens who remain unjustly imprisoned by the Maduro regime in Venezuela.
Specifically, I am requesting that you do all you can to ensure the safe return of my constituent, Matthew Heath."

To read the full story, please refer to the WATE web site copy the following link and paste it into your browser address bar:

Update #11
January 24, 2021
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To all of Matthew's friends,family and supporters:

We asks of you to start writing your Congressman and President Biden and ask what they are doing to  bring Matthew home.
We don't want Matthew to be forgotten with the new Administration coming in to office.
The more letters the better.

Thanks in advance 
The Heath family

Update #10
January 8, 2021
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We want to thank everyone for their continued support and prayers.
If it was not for his friends and family we would not be able to continue helping Matt on this long process of getting him home.
The only update at this time is:
Added a letter Matthew wrote to his family under images.
Everyone was served a nice Christmas dinner. 

The Heath family

Update #9
January 3, 2021
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I have up loaded a image to the gallery 
Letter from Matthew to his family

Update #8
January 1, 2021
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We would like to inform everyone Matthew was allowed to see his attorney on December the 30th.
This is the first contact that Matthew has been allowed to have since his detainment.

We now have Proof Of Life through this meeting. We have been told he is in good physical health and is being treated respectfully.

We are grateful for the Venezuelans for allowing this meeting to take place.

The Heath family

Update #7
December 22, 2020
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We had to stop sending supplies to Matthew because they are getting lost before they reach him

Hopefully we can get Proof Of Life soon no phone call ,no nothing at this time going on 4 months now.
He is not getting due process under Venezuela Constitutional Law.

Update #6
December 19, 2020
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Nothing new to tell for this week or last week. 
Still no Proof of life and no visit for the Attorney or the UN,
NO one has been allowed to see Matthew or no Zoom call home.

Update #5
December 6, 2020
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Family and Friends
Matthew has received some items last week not really sure what he got but he got something.
the attorney sent more items and food last Monday also.
Monday and Thursdays are delivery days and Wednesdays are attorney days, but  that seem to change weekly.
We have been told that the facility has been closed down for the election that is going on there today and probable will be another week before anyone is allowed to go in.

Matthew still has not seen his attorney but the attorney is hopeful he will get to see him soon.
It all depends on the facility who they will let in and when.
We are still pushing for proof of life. 
Hoping they will let him have a vidio chat with his family soon.

Keeping the hope and prayers alive


Update #4
November 27, 2020
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We have been told by Matthew's attorney he had some supplies took to the Facality for him 
Thursday. Cloths ,bedding, personal hygiene items, ect.
Monday he said he will be taking some food items. He ask what would Matthew like to eat?
Said he would love a Big Mack and fries (: they do have a McDonalds Maybe they can get him one that would be a nice surprise.
We also sent a letter to be delivered Monday hopefully he gets a letter from home to lift his spirits.


Update #3
November 21, 2020
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Matthew's had a hearing Tuesday 17th they afficially charged him with being a terrorist and money laungering.
The Attorney will attempt to see Matthew Thursday and get him some supplies.
food,clothing,bedding and personal items.
This is the only way Matthew can get supplies through his attorney.

He will probably go to trial very quickly now that he has representation that seems to be the way things work there.
I will keep updates as they are available.

Thank you family and friends for your support and prayers


Update #2
November 7, 2020
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WBIR ran Matthew's story last night and this morning.

Update #1
November 6, 2020
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1. On October 31st Congressman Fleischmann released a statement in support of Matthew.
2, On that same day the Associated Press published a story about Matthew's several months in Colombia and Venezuela.
3. November the 5th ABC affiliate WATE Chanel 6 news in Knoxville they zuela.ran a short story about Matthew situation in Venezuela.
4. November the 6th ABC affiliate WATE Chanel 6 news in Knoxville ran a interview with Trudy Rutherford Matthews' aunt. 

Thanks to every one for your support and I will try to keep this updated as things develop.


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