Robert Levinson's family confirms former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent died in Iranian custody

26 Mars, 2020, 02:49 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Robert Levinson wearing glasses and looking at the camera

"We don't know when or how he died, only that it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic".

"Those who are responsible for what happened to Bob Levinson, including those in the USA government who for many years repeatedly left him behind, will ultimately receive justice for what they have done".

Sarah Moriarty, the daughter of Robert Levinson, a U.S. hostage in Iran, listens during a news conference about hostages in Iran, December 3, 2019, in Washington.

In their statement, the Levinson family condemned the Iranian regime, promising to continue to seek justice in their patriarch's death and to hold accountable "those in the USA government who for many years repeatedly left him behind".

"They haven't told us that he's dead, but a lot of people are thinking that that is the case", he said.

Levinson is one of a number of Americans who have disappeared in arch-enemy Iran, but his case has been among the most perplexing, with his family until now insisting he was alive.

Mr Levinson disappeared in Iran's Kish Island in 2007 while on an unauthorised Central Intelligence Agency mission.

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Top intelligence officials from inside the White House Situation Room shared the "strong evidence" Levinson died sometime in the past several years, a source told The New York Times.

"It has been 13 years waiting for answers", they wrote. "How those responsible in Iran could do this to a human being, while repeatedly lying to the world all this time, is incomprehensible to us. They kidnapped a foreign citizen and denied him any basic human rights, and his blood is on their hands". His body has not yet been returned to us for a proper burial. We don't even know when, or even if, his body would be returned to us.

"This is the very definition of cruelty", the statement said. "Our family will spend the rest of our lives without the most fantastic man, a new reality that is inconceivable to us".

"Our family also wishes to thank Congressman Ted Deutch, Senator Bill Nelson, Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Bob Menendez, and their staff members, who fought for Bob Levinson in every possible way", they said. He became the longest-held U.S. citizen in history in 2016.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Tehran denied knowledge of Levinson's whereabouts until November past year when it acknowledged that there was an ongoing case involving him before its revolutionary court.

The most recent message, in April 2011, is the most disturbing; Levinson looks disheveled with long white hair and a shaggy beard, and he is dressed in an orange jumpsuit like those worn by United States prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.

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