Robert Levinson: US hostage has died in Iran, says circle of relatives

Former FBI agent Robert Levinson Symbol copyright AFP
Symbol caption US officers suspected that Robert Levinson was once abducted through Iranian intelligence

Former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who disappeared in Iran 13 years in the past, has died in custody there, in step with remark from his circle of relatives.

“It’s unattainable to explain our ache,” the circle of relatives stated, including that his dying seemed to have befell prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

Levinson, the longest-held hostage in US historical past, disappeared in 2007 at the Iranian island of Kish.

His circle of relatives say he was once running on behalf of an unauthorised CIA undertaking.

He retired from the FBI in 1998, however have been running in Kish as a personal investigator, taking a look at cigarette counterfeiting within the area, his spouse says.

US officers suspected he was once abducted through Iranian intelligence forces for use as a bargaining chip in dealings with Washington.

What did President Trump say?

President Donald Trump stated on Wednesday on the White Space: “I have been very a lot taken with that and he was once an excellent gentleman and an excellent circle of relatives.

“It isn’t taking a look excellent, he wasn’t smartly for years in Iran, it is not taking a look promising.”

The president added: “However Robert Levinson, who was once exceptional, has been ill for a very long time. He had some tough issues previous to his detainment or seize.

“It isn’t taking a look nice, however I would possibly not settle for that he is lifeless. They have not informed us he is lifeless.”

In November, Mr Trump tweeted calling for Iran to show over Levinson.

What did the circle of relatives say?

The Levinson circle of relatives remark on Wednesday stated that they had not too long ago won knowledge from US officers that had led them to conclude he had died in Iranian custody.

“It’s unattainable to explain our ache,” they stated.

“Our circle of relatives will spend the remainder of our lives with out probably the most superb guy we’ve ever recognized, a brand new fact this is unimaginable to us.

“His grandchildren won’t ever meet him. They’ll most effective know him throughout the tales we inform them.

“If no longer for the harsh, heartless movements of the Iranian regime, Robert Levinson could be alive and residential with us these days.”

When was once the hostage closing observed alive?

The circle of relatives, of Coral Springs, Florida, won proof-of-life footage and a video in 2010 and 2011, although his whereabouts have been unknown.

Images emerged of him bearded and dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, very similar to the ones worn through US detainees in Guantanamo Bay.

Round his neck hung indicators, one in all which stated, “why you can’t assist me”.

Professionals made up our minds the video have been despatched via Pakistan, whilst the footage have been despatched from an web cope with in Afghanistan.

Pashtun wedding ceremony tune might be heard taking part in faintly within the background of the video, suggesting Mr Levinson might be held in both of the ones two international locations.

Every other principle of US officers was once that the Iranian govt will have routed the photographs externally so as to blame Mr Levinson’s disappearance on any individual else.

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