Robert Levinson has been missing for 10 years and his last known location was Iran. The family of this former FBI agent have filed a lawsuit against Iran in U.S. Federal court, coming years after the last hostage photos and videos surfaced from Iran.
The family has claimed that it received multiple emails over the years with requests for concessions from the U.S. government in exchange for Levinson. One of these concessions was the return of a Revolutionary Guard general who defected to the West.
“Iran has, for many years, established a pattern of seizing and holding hostages in order to extract concessions from the hostage’s home country,” read the lawsuit. “That Robert Levinson’s seizure is a part of that pattern is reflected in Iran’s multiple attempts to use Robert Levinson’s imprisonment to extort concessions from the United States.”
Iran’s mission at the United Nations has not responded at this time, but the Iranian media has carried international reports of the lawsuit, without additional information from the government being added.
Levinson’s trip to Iran’s Kish Island was part of an operation he was on for the CIA, it was revealed later, although when he first disappeared the U.S. officials would only say that he was working for a private firm. The Associated Press revealed in December 2013 that Levinson was working with the CIA and subsequently, the agency forced out three veteran analysts and disciplined seven others.
The family also hopes that President Trump can lend a hand in finding out what happened to their husband and father. His family told the Associated Press that Trump’s background as a deal-making businessman and his harder line on Iran could be an asset in finally determining what happened to the investigator. The mystery surrounding his disappearance and his final fate are heartbreaking for the family.
“For the past 10 years, the Iranian government has held Robert Levinson captive while at the same time denying any knowledge or involvement in the circumstances of his capture,” said the lawsuit. “In order to maintain its false story, Iran has held Robert Levinson incommunicado.”
While there is some question of whether he is still alive, since the last photos and videos showing Levinson were sent to the family in 2013, his family still holds out hope.
“We believe people can survive 10 years under any circumstances. Ink the worst places, people survive. We know Bob is alive,” said his wife, Christine Levinson to AP. “Everyone else has gotten out of Iran, but Bob has been left behind every single time. It’s now time for him to be returned home to his family.”
Rumors have circulated for years, with varying accounts of his location and the condition of his health and well-being. But Iranian officials have been less than forthcoming with information. The FBI is offering a $5 million reward for information leading to his safe recovery and return. But requests to Iran for more information have been met with silence. Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad alluded to Levinson and their suspicions of his trip in 2010, when he suggested that more information about him would be forthcoming if “it becomes clear what his goal was, or if he was indeed on a mission, then specific assistance can be given.”
The family is hoping with the Trump administration and this lawsuit to finally get answers.