Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent and personal investigator who disappeared from an Iranian island in 2007, is believed to have died in Iranian custody, his household revealed in a press release Wednesday.
The assertion mentioned U.S. officers agreed with the household’s conclusion, including: “We do not know when or how he died, solely that it was previous to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
President Trump mentioned he had not been informed that Levinson is lifeless however mentioned “he wasn’t nicely for years in Iran.
“He is been sick for a very long time, and he had some tough issues previous to his detainment or seize,” Trump mentioned, including that Levinson “was a terrific gentleman.”
Levinson was the longest-held hostage in U.S. historical past, and his household had fought for over a decade for his protected return, blaming the Iranian regime for his seize and imprisonment.
Levinson was 58 when he traveled to Kish Island, Iran, in 2007 working as a personal investigator. He reportedly was participating in an unauthorized CIA mission.
Upon his arrival, Levinson was mentioned to have met with an American fugitive — Dawud Salahuddin — focused by the CIA for recruitment, a supply near the Levinson case informed Fox Information in 2016.
Salahuddin was needed by the CIA for allegedly murdering an Iranian diplomat in Maryland in 1980, and Levinson hoped the mission to ship him to the company would safe him full-time employment with the CIA, the supply informed Fox Information on the time.
Shortly afterward, Levinson disappeared, however Iran repeatedly denied capturing him or understanding of his whereabouts.
“It has been 13 years ready for solutions. 13 years since we final noticed him or had any contact with him,” Levinson’s household wrote in a Facebook post. “How these accountable in Iran might do that to a human being, whereas repeatedly mendacity to the world all this time, is meaningless to us. They kidnapped a international citizen and denied him any fundamental human rights, and his blood is on their arms.”
The submit continued, “Bob Levinson ought to have spent his final moments surrounded by his household and all of the love we really feel for him. As an alternative, he died alone, in captivity 1000’s of miles away, in unbelievable struggling. His physique has not but been returned to us for a correct burial. We do not even know when, or even when, his physique can be returned to us. That is the very definition of cruelty.”
The household thanked President Trump and U.S. officers for his or her efforts to seek out Levinson. “We are going to miss his heat, humor, and knowledge, however most of all, we’ll miss the deep and unconditional love he had for every considered one of us. He won’t ever be forgotten – we’ll ensure of it.”
In 2011, a photograph of Levinson wearing an orange jumpsuit surfaced, indicating he was alive.
In November, Iran acknowledged for the primary time in a submitting with the United Nations that there was an “ongoing case” within the Public Prosecution and Revolutionary Courtroom of Tehran for Levinson, regardless of having beforehand denied understanding about his whereabouts.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in an try to get Iran to launch a number of U.S. hostages, supplied a $25 million reward for info resulting in Levinson’s restoration and return however to no avail.
Levinson’s relations mentioned they “anticipate American officers, in addition to officers around the globe, to proceed to press Iran to hunt Bob’s return, and to make sure these Iranian officers concerned are held accountable.”
Fox Information’ Nicolas Rojas contributed to this report.