American, Robert Levinson, Still Presumably in Captivity in Iran After Over Five Years
Thursday, August 31, 2012 marked the 2,000th day since Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent, went missing off the southern coast of Iran. The FBI has offered a $1 million award for information leading to Levinson’s safe return. In March, to mark the five-year anniversary of the former FBI agent’s disappearance, the FBI announced a $1 million reward for information leading to Levinson’s safe return.
Levinson’s family has released a statement, saying: “Bob is now the second-longest-held hostage in American history. Only Terry Anderson who was held as part of the Lebanon Hostage Crisis was in captivity longer. Bob has been held four and a half times longer than the Americans held during in the Iranian Hostage Crisis, a group of people caught up in the middle of political turmoil, and more than a month longer than the Americans kidnapped by FARC guerillas and released in 2008. This is not a milestone any human being would want to achieve. We love and miss Bob more than words can say, and we desperately worry about his health with each day that passes.”
After Levinson retired from the FBI in 1998, he went into private investigating. At the time of his disappearance, he was investigating a cigarette smuggling case on Kish Island, Iran. He was last seen on March 9, 2007.
According to the FBI:
In March 2011, the U.S. secretary of state issued a statement that the U.S. government had received indications that Levinson was being held by a group in southwest Asia. That region includes the border areas of Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. A publicity campaign is being launched this week in southwest Asia to heighten awareness of Levinson’s abduction, announce the $1,000,000 reward, and solicit information. Billboards, radio messages, and flyers will be used to publicize the reward and the investigation. A telephone tip line will be provided to listeners and viewers in that region so that they can confidentially provide information.”
In a 2008 interview with NBC, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed the notion that the Islamic Republic had something to do with Levinson’s disappearance. “There was a claim made some time ago, some people came over, the gentleman’s family came over,” he said. “They talked and met with our officials and were given our responses. I see no reason for a person who was given an Iranian visa and — came into Iran, arrived in Iran through official channels, to have problems here.”
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Pete King (R-NY) has said that he’s “convinced the CIA is doing all that they can on this.” He went on to say: “I would just ask that our intelligence community to do all it possibly can to bring him home and obviously if that involves negotiations, if that involves any trading, you know, I don’t want to get involved and tell them how to do it but I would certainly hope that Robert Levinson could be brought home to his family as soon as possible.” He added that,”it’s really a tragedy.”
A resident of Florida, Levison has been married for 37 years, has seven children and two grandchildren. The family never ceases in working to bring Levinson home safely. “Our youngest son is about to graduate from high school,” Christine Levinson said. “He was in middle school when his father disappeared.” His family has pointed out that he is a diabetic, has high blood pressure and gout, “along with countless other unknown health issues a person would suffer from while being held in captivity for five and a half years.”“We need to bring him home now so that he can spend whatever time he has left surrounded by the people who love him, not in captivity.”
Robert Levinson Image Array. Credit: FBI
If you have information about the Levinson case, contact your nearest FBI office or American Embassy, or submit a tip to https://tips.fbi.gov.
Featured Photo Credit: abcnews.go.com