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Sen. Young Met With Representative From Maduro Government About Imprisoned Bloomington Man

Todd Young

Young says the meeting took place before the situation involving the embattled Venezuelan president escalated. (WFIU/WTIU News)

Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) says he met with a representative from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government months ago to try and get answers about why a Bloomington man hasn’t been released from a prison there.

Police arrested Todd Leininger when he was visiting the country in 2014. He was convicted of attempted homicide and concealing a firearm, but a court ordered his release in November. Leininger remains in prison.

Young says the meeting took place before the political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela escalated, and the Maduro representative said Leininger was still imprisoned because of a disagreement between the courts and the country's justice agency. 

"Frankly, they've come up with all manner of excuses to try and explain why Todd remains in prison long after there was a court order indicating that he needs to be released, none of which were credible," Young says. 

Young wrote a letter to the President and Vice President urging them to do everything they can to bring Leininger home. He says he doesn't fault the administration for not being able to do so yet. 

"We just don't have great clarity into the political situation on the ground and how that's going to play out," Young says. "I think until that is resolved there may not be a resolultion of Todd's case."

Young told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a hearing this week that there are concerns about water access and conditions at the prison. He says there's reason to fear for Leininger's life. 

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