Jason Rezaian’s new book, Prisoner, confirms that Robert Levinson, America’s longest-held hostage, was deliberately left out of the negotiations between the U.S. and Iran leading to the release by Iran of 5 hostages in January 2016. Our father was left behind.
In Prisoner, Mr. Rezaian cites a source in the Iranian Supreme Leader’s office who states that, in discussions with members of the Obama administration, “the issue of Bob Levinson had initially been a point of contention throughout the negotiations (between Iran and the United States). Initially Levinson—or a complete accounting of what happened to him—was to be a part of the deal, but the Rouhani administration decided there was no political value at that time in acknowledging, after eight years, that, yes, Iran had been responsible for his disappearance.”
This information is unimaginably devastating to our family. To think that the Obama administration let Iran get away with this, and did not demand this information and the return of our father, is absolutely abhorrent.
We commend Jason Rezaian for sharing his harrowing story and being so transparent about the physical and mental anguish that he faced during his 544 days in an Iranian prison. As Mr. Rezaian continues to talk about his experience, we can’t help but think about what atrocities that our father, Robert Levinson, has endured over his 11 years in prison in Iran. This includes possible solitary confinement, nonstop interrogations, physical and emotional mistreatment, and health problems suffered through years of unjust imprisonment. We believe our father is alive – there is absolutely no evidence to prove otherwise – and, just like Mr. Rezaian, doing everything he can, every single day, to come home to us.
President Trump’s administration, including the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, Robert C. O’Brien, has told us repeatedly how hard it is working to secure our father’s return home. We begin every day hoping that it will be the day that President Trump will be successful, that the Iranians will find the value in resolving this on humanitarian grounds, and that Bob Levinson will come home and be reunited with us, just as Mr. Rezaian was reunited with his family.
March 9, 2017
FROM THE WIFE, CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN OF ROBERT LEVINSON, AMERICA’S LONGEST-HELD HOSTAGE IN HISTORY –
When is enough enough? It has been 10 years since Robert Levinson, our amazing husband, father and grandfather, was arrested on Kish Island, Iran, and imprisoned. For 10 years the government of Iran has been allowed to dodge and weave every time it was asked to come clean about what happened to Bob and send him home. Where is the outrage of this treatment of an American citizen? For 10 years, over and over and over again, two U.S. Presidents abandoned him, a lifelong public servant. Even Bob’s government co-workers and their bosses – they know who they are – ran away when he disappeared, to their lasting shame. Ten years is beyond enough. How much more agony must he withstand? It is time to get Bob Levinson home to his family. And, to Bob, Dad and Grandpa Bob: Stay strong! We know you are alive and trying to come home to us. We love you more than ever. We miss you every hour of the day. We will never, never, ever give up looking for you.
We are the family of Robert Levinson, the husband, father and grandfather who was detained on Kish Island more than nine years ago, on March 9, 2007, and who has been missing and unable to see or even speak with us since that day.
It is impossible to convey the depth of the darkness and the tremendous loss our family has experienced without our father, the head of our family. Our father means everything to us. He is a man of deep faith who goes out of his way to help others. He is a loving father of seven children and four grandchildren. He brings light to our world. Yet he is being held against his will, with no contact with his family or anyone he knows for more than nine years. We are not aware of any charges that have been brought against him that would explain his being kept prisoner. We have had no contact with anyone claiming to be holding him.
We write with a simple humanitarian request involving an individual life, to you who are a father, that you help us find our father, Bob Levinson, so he may return to us and live the rest of his life in peace. His health is fragile, as he suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure. Our sole desire for whatever time he has left on Earth is that he be surrounded by those who love him.
We see in your writings and speeches, especially to families and young people, that you regularly call for compassion, truth and justice. It is in this spirit that we reach out to you as we are still awaiting answers as to what happened to him. Your Excellency, you undoubtedly agree with us that not having any information about our father’s destiny while we are still awaiting with hope to find him, and never having had the opportunity in nine years to communicate with him, and his inability to hear the voice of his wife, our mother, and above all, being held as a prisoner without the benefit of any legal advocacy, all fall short of humanity, justice, Islamic compassion and the lessons you teach.
We believe that you granting our request is within your power Supreme Leader and Guardian Jurist. All we are asking for is justice regarding our father’s destiny. We implore you to bring justice, Islamic compassion and truth to our father and our family.
With our deepest respect and gratitude,
On behalf of the Levinson Family:
Daniel, David, Douglas, Samantha, and Sophia Levinson Ralph, Susan, and Bobby Boothe
Randy, Stephanie, Ryan and Grace Curry
Ryan, Sarah, and Sean Moriarty
نامه یِ سرگشاده به حضرت آیت الله سید علی خامنه ای
رهبر جمهوری اسلامی ایران
مقام معظم رهبری،
با سلام و احترام خدمت حضرتعالی، ما خانواده یِ رابرت لوینسون هستیم. شوهر، پدر و پدر بزرگی که بیش از نه سال پیش در تاریخ 9 مارس 2007 در جزیره کیش بازداشت و مفقود شده است و از آن روز، قادر به صحبت و دیداربا ما نبوده است.
بیان عمقِ تاریکی و فقدانِ عظیمی که خانواده ما در نبود پدر و سرپرست خانواده تجربه کرده ایم، امری غیر ممکن است. پدر ما یعنی همه چیز و همه کس ما. مردی با ایمانی قوی که همواره برای کمک به دیگران تلاش می کند. پدرِ دوست داشتنیِ هفت فرزند و چهار نوه که به دنیایِ ما نور به ارمغان می آورد. اما هم اکنون برخلاف اراده اش زندانی و قادر به تماس با خانواده و یا هیچ یک از عزیزانش نیست. ما اطلاعی از هیچگونه اتهامی که زندانی بودن او را توجیه کنُد، نداریم و افرادی که او را زندانی کرده اند هیچ تماسی با ما نگرفته اند.
ما برای تسلیم یک درخواستِ ساده و انسان دوستانه در مورد زندگیِ یک انسان به حضرتعالی که خود یک پدر هستید نامه نوشته ایم، که جنابعالی در پیدا کردن پدر ما، رابرت لوینسون، به کمک خانوادهٔ ما بیایید. بلکه او به ما بازگردد و بقیه عمر خود را در آرامش بسر ببرد. او مبتلا به بیماری دیابت و فشار خون بالا است و سلامتیش در خطر میباشد. آرزویِ ما برای مابقیِ عمر او بودن در کنار عزیزانش است.
ما شاهدیم که شما مرتباً در سخرانی ها و نوشتههای خود، مخصوصا به خانوادها و جوانان، آنها را به محبت، حقیقت و عدالت دعوت میفرمایید. درخواست ما در همین راستا است: حتماً حضرتعالی موافق هستید که نداشتن هیچگونه اطلاعاتی در مورد سرنوشت پدرمان در حالی که ما امیدوارانه در انتظار یافتن او هستیم و نداشتن امکان صحبت با پدر خود برای نه سال و اینکه او حتی قادر به شنیدن صدای همسرش (مادر ما) نبوده است و نیز عدم دسترسی او به عنوان یک زندانی به مشاوره حقوقی همگی بدور از انسانیت، عدالت، شفقت اسلامی و آموزه های حضرتعالی است.
ما باورداریم که برآوردن این درخواستِ انسان دوستانه تنها در حیطه قدرت حضرتعالی به عنوان مقام معظم رهبری و ولی فقیه است. تنها درخواست ما اجرای عدالت درباره سرنوشت پدر ما است. ما از آن مقام محترم تمنی داریم، عدالت، شفقت اسلامی و حقیقت را برای پدرو خانواده ما به ارمغان بیاورید.
با تقدیم احترام،
کریستین، دانیل، دیوید، سوفیا و سامانتا لوینسون؛ رالف، سوزان و بابی بوث، رندی، استفانی، رایان و گریس کاری، و رایان، سارا و شان موریارتی
Statement from Christine Levinson, Bob’s wife, on the 9th anniversary of Bob being taken in Iran:
A few days ago, hundreds of people from around the country came together with our family in Florida to demand “Where is Bob Levinson?” and ask how it is possible that, 9 years after being taken hostage in Iran, this wonderful man is still not home. My children and I ask those same questions every day.
These past 9 years – 3, 288 days – have been harder for our family than anyone could ever imagine. But, as difficult as it has been for us, we know that Bob is living a nightmare that is 100 times worse. We need the United States government and the country of Iran to work together to resolve what happened to Bob and return him safely to his family.
We are happy for the other families. But once again, Bob Levinson has been left behind. We are devastated.
By David Levinson
Updated 7:06 PM ET, Fri June 19, 2015
Son of American detainee in Iran pleas for release
Son of American detainee in Iran pleas for release 02:47
Bob Levinson has been missing since 2007
David Levinson: I know one day we will see each other again
“David Levinson, is one of Bob and Christine Levinson’s seven children. Bob Levinson was detained while visiting Kish Island, Iran, in March 2007. The views expressed are David’s own.”
(CNN)About 10 years ago, as a college freshman in an Atlanta university and 600 miles from home, I was in trouble. For the first time in my life, I was stuck in a deep depression, due both to academic struggles and personal relationships. I hadn’t developed any friendships, was cut from a number of activities I hoped to be involved with, and, of course, I was homesick.
I remember the voice message I left for my Dad, telling him I hated it. I hated school, I hated the challenge, and I hated life. I told him I was scared — fearful that I had made the wrong choice of schools; that my life was now heading on a downward spiral that I could no longer control.
I expected a follow-up call. Maybe even a care package. Instead, the next day, my father showed up at my college dormitory, uncharacteristically driving a rented, flashy two-door sports car.
“Hey Davey,” he said as he picked me up. “Like my ‘ride’?”
I laughed, and told him he might as well have been wearing a Superman cape. I needed him that day, more than I think even he knew. We spent the day together and he bought me lunch and some much-needed groceries. But his biggest contributions that day were his listening skills and his advice.
“This is a phase,” he said. “A tough phase of life. It will pass. And you will be stronger from it.”
A little over a year later, my father disappeared. While traveling on Kish Island, Iran, he was detained and lost all communication with my family. Although we haven’t been able to speak to him since March of 2007, we have been a witness to his suffering. Several years ago, we received a video of him, looking broken and beaten, pleading for help from the United States government.
Less than a year later, we received photos of him in an orange jumpsuit, holding up messagesmocking our helpless attempts to return him home. When I first saw these photos, I realized how unrecognizable my father had become; that same confident, smiling man who I shared lunch with that day 10 years ago had been transformed completely. It was clear that on a daily level, he has been living through hell.
A few weeks ago, my brother, Dan, spoke in front of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs,imploring them to do everything they could to help our Dad, especially as negotiations remain ongoing for a nuclear deal between the United States and Iran.
“Crunch time,” my brother called it. I couldn’t agree more, but for some additional reasons. This October, I’ll become the first of my father’s three sons to get married, as I’ve found a partner who I can only describe as the woman of my dreams.
It would be amazing to have my father front and center for the ceremony, as he has already missed walking two of my sisters down the aisle for their weddings. But most of all, I just want him to be able to meet my fiancee. I know he would love her, that he would see how much I love her, and that he would share a few words of advice to guide me through the nerves of wedding preparation.
I believe in my father, and I know how determined he is to get home. There is no doubt in my mind that one day he will succeed, that one day we will see each other again and he will meet my future wife. She is hopeful for that day as well, and longs to meet the man I am constantly trying to emulate each day.
In the meantime, on this Father’s Day, just like every Father’s Day for the past eight years, I’ll relive that day in Atlanta and reflect on how lucky I have been to know my father, how fortunate I have been to learn from him, and how proud I am to be his son. I don’t need him to throw on a Superman cape or drive a fancy sports car to my wedding in October — just being there will be heroic enough.
Until that day, here’s wishing you a Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
We are grateful to President Obama for raising Bob’s case today and to the FBI for recently increasing the reward to $5 million. Both of these actions give us renewed hope. Bob is the center of our family. In the name of all our children and grandchildren, I again implore those who are holding Bob to show mercy and restore him to us.
Statement by the President on U.S. Citizens Detained or Missing in Iran
The spirit of family is deeply woven into all of the rich cultural traditions of the Nowruz holiday. It is a time for reuniting and rejoicing with loved ones and sharing hopes for the new year. Today, as families across the world gather to mark this holiday, we remember those American families who are enduring painful separations from their loved ones who are imprisoned or went missing in Iran.
Saeed Abedini of Boise, Idaho has spent two and a half years detained in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs. He must be returned to his wife and two young children, who needlessly continue to grow up without their father.
Amir Hekmati of Flint, Michigan has been imprisoned in Iran on false espionage charges for over three and a half years. His family, including his father who is gravely ill, has borne the pain of Amir’s absence for far too long.
Jason Rezaian of Marin County, California, an Iranian government credentialed reporter for the Washington Post, has been unjustly held in Iran for nearly eight months on vague charges. It is especially painful that on a holiday centered on ridding one’s self of the difficulties of the past year, Jason’s mother and family will continue to carry the heavy burden of concern regarding Jason’s health and well-being into the new year.
And finally, we recently marked yet another anniversary since Robert Levinson went missing on Kish Island. His family has now endured the hardship of his disappearance for over eight years.
At this time of renewal, compassion, and understanding, I reiterate my commitment to bringing our citizens home and call on the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to immediately release Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati and Jason Rezaian and to work cooperatively with us to find Robert Levinson so that they all can be safely reunited with their families as soon as possible.
In honor of the familial spirit so strongly enshrined within this holiday and for the Abedini, Hekmati, Rezaian, and Levinson families, I hope this new spring is filled with joyous moments for us all with all of our loved ones by our sides.
From the family of Robert Levinson –
Robert Levinson has been held hostage for eight years – since March 9, 2007, when he was last seen on Kish Island, Iran. He is the longest-held hostage in American history. Tomorrow, March 10th, is his 67th birthday.
Every year on this date we remind the world that Bob’s case is still not resolved and that this husband, father and grandfather is still not home where he belongs. But we, his family, have been reminded every single day of the past eight years because of the enormous hole in our lives that will only be filled when Bob is back with us. We need to see him, hear his voice, and hold him. To help the world remember this extraordinary human being, here is a link to the hostage video we received in 2010 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=knjx0E2xLc0 and photographs we received in 2011 http://www.fbi.gov/levinson. We have heard nothing since. We urge the governments of Iran and the United States to work together to resolve this case and send Bob home, so he can live the rest of his life quietly, surrounded by the family that loves him.
2,467 days. Seven years ago today, Bob Levinson was abducted while on Kish Island, Iran. He still remains held as a hostage.
Our sister was able to save a voicemail that Dad left on her cell phone from January 2007, two months before he was taken.
We are sharing this with all of you today, on the seventh anniversary of his kidnapping.
The voicemail speaks for itself as you will hear how it encompasses everything that is good and right about our amazing dad.
Please continue to be outraged that he is still being held. This is humanity at its worst.
Bob Levinson has devoted his entire career to serving our country. He deserves better than this.