- Missing former FBI agent’s family files suit against the government of Iran
- Robert Levinson went missing 10 years ago; officials believe he was abducted by Iran
The wife and children of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent whom US investigators believe is being held in Iran, filed a suit with the US District Court in Washington, D.C.
The complaint states that the family is filing suit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act “for injuries suffered by each of them as a result of Iran’s unlawful acts of hostage taking, torture and other torts.”
If indeed Iran does have him in custody, Levinson would be the longest held US civilian by a foreign government. Iran has denied having anything to do with his disappearance and has said they don’t know where he is.
CNN is attempting to reach the Iranian government for response to the lawsuit but most offices are closed for New Year celebrations.
Claims of mistreatment
“Three weeks after his disappearance an Iranian government news outlet, Press TV, announced that he had been taken into custody by Iranian security authorities but was expected to be released shortly,” the complaint alleges.
“Despite this report, Robert Levinson was not released and the Iranian government began falsely denying any knowledge of his capture or whereabouts.”
It also alleges that the Iranian government had falsely concocted a ruse involving several emails containing a proof-of-life video and photos of Levinson in a disheveled state, sent to the Levinson family, making it appear that a terrorist organization had kidnapped the American.
“The threatening messages, along with… video and photographs… were enormously disturbing to the Levinson family,” it says. “They were intended to and did create significant emotional trauma in the entire family.”
It also alleges that the family is aware that “Iran routinely uses physical and psychological torture in the questioning of its prisoners.
“Given this pattern, Robert Levinson’s circumstances and his appearance and actions in the hostage-related videos and photographs… it is reasonable to believe that Iran has used various forms of physical and psychological torture on Levinson.”
Ten year disappearance
According to State Department officials, Levinson traveled to Kish Island in Iran in March 2007.