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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

East Tennessee veteran detained by Venezuelan government to return to court Wednesday

An East Tennessee Marines veteran is being held in Venezuela accused of being a terrorist and spying for former President Trump.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — An East Tennessee Marines veteran, Matthew Heath, was in Venezuelan court Feb. 17 after he was accused of being a terrorist and of spying for former President Trump.

He is scheduled to make another appearance on Wednesday, Feb. 24.

His family said that he wasn't allowed to have a lawyer during the first hearing. They also denied the Venezuelan government's accusations. U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann also issued a statement about Heath's detainment.

“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," Fleischmann said.

He said that the Venezuelan government has not been transparent about the case, and has not followed international norms for the court case. His office is in contact with Heath's family, the Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Columbia, according to the statement.

He said that he will continue pushing for Heath's release so he can return to his family in East Tennessee.