Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


FBI agent now longest-held US hostage

27 November 2013, 11:40

Washington - Retired FBI agent Robert Levinson on Tuesday became the longest-held hostage in US history, with his family and US officials appealing to the new Iranian leadership for help in finding and releasing him.

Mystery shrouds the fate of Levinson, who disappeared on 9 March 2007 on Iran's Gulf island of Kish while reportedly investigating cigarette counterfeiting in the region.

"To whoever is holding Bob, I ask again for your mercy. Please let him go to reunite with his family," his wife Christine wrote on the website HelpBobLevinson.com set up by the family to press for his release.

"No one would have predicted this terrible moment more than six and a half years ago when Bob disappeared. Our family will soon gather for our seventh thanksgiving without Bob, and the pain will be almost impossible to bear," she added.

Hostage video

But in her message she urged her husband to stay strong and said he has a new month-old grandson.

"We can't wait for you to meet him. We love you and will never stop working to bring you home safely."

Levinson has now been held longer than the former AP Beirut bureau chief Terry Anderson, who was kidnapped in Lebanon in 1985 and held for 2 454 days by Hezbollah militants.

Virtually no news has filtered out about Levinson, now aged 65, since his capture other than a hostage video of him received by the family three years ago and a few pictures sent to the family in 2011.

The photos show him shackled in what appears to be an orange jumpsuit with a shaggy, gray beard and unkempt hair, holding a cryptic sign saying "4th year. You can’t or you don't want?"

The ongoing detente between Iran and the United States, however, has raised the family's hopes that the new Iranian government of President Hassan Rouhani may be prepared to help win his release.

Joint effort

"Given the negotiations between the United States and Iran over Tehran's nuclear programme, we particularly hope that officials can use their ongoing contact to resolve my father's case," Dan Levinson writes on the website.

"Doing so would show the world that our two countries can work together to resolve our differences and would demonstrate Iran's willingness to help an average American family's plight."

In a statement on Tuesday the White House renewed its commitment to seeking Levinson's safe return.

"We respectfully ask the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to assist us in securing Mr Levinson's health, welfare, and safe return," the statement added.

While the recent talks in Geneva between world powers and Iran focused solely on the Iranian nuclear programme, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said the US had "repeatedly" raised Levinson's case in bilateral talks.

President Barack Obama had even mentioned him, along with other detained Americans Amir Hekmati and Saeed Abedini during his landmark phone call with Rouhani in September, she added.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...