Dad, I know you’ll make it home

http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/19/opinions/levinson-fathers-day-hope/index.html

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

Story highlights

  • 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.

David Levinson

David Levinson

“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.

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Media Coverage of Dan Levinson’s Testimony During the House Foreign Affairs Committee on June 2, 2015

Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/families-of-americans-held-in-iranian-prisons-to-testify-on-capitol-hill/2015/06/02/c456b588-092a-11e5-95fd-d580f1c5d44e_story.html

 

Sun Sentinel:

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/coral-springs/daniel-levinson-will-urge-congress-on-tuesday-to-pressure-iran-to-divulge-inform-20150602-story.html

 

New Day – CNN

http://goo.gl/GnXQHZ

 

Associated Press (via U.S. News & World Report online):

http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2015/06/02/relatives-of-4-americans-in-iran-press-for-their-release

 

Bloomberg:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-02/families-of-u-s-prisoners-in-iran-say-nuclear-talks-pivotal

 

Agence France Presse (via Yahoo! News)

http://news.yahoo.com/us-lawmakers-urge-iran-free-detained-americans-173746879.html

 

NY Daily News:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/families-4-americans-held-iran-urge-congress-article-1.2243639

 

ABC News online:

http://abcnews.go.com/International/families-americans-held-iran-push-lawmakers-results/story?id=31463163

 

Fox News.com:

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/06/02/families-four-americans-held-captive-in-iran-unite-urge-congress-to-bring-loved-ones-home.html

 

Politico:

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/amir-hekmati-relatives-plea-for-help-118543.html

 

Detroit Free Press:

http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2015/06/02/hekmati-resolution-considered/28352293/

 

Christian Daily:

http://www.christianitydaily.com/articles/4041/20150601/prayer-vigil-behalf-pastor-saeed-abedini-take-place-washington-d.htm

 

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Video of Dan Levinson’s Testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs

Thank you to all of you who watched or supported Dan’s testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs this morning, and thank you to the committee for the opportunity to tell our father’s and our family’s story.

For those unable to watch earlier, the archive video is already available. If you would like to just watch Dan’s testimony, you can skip to 1:06:38, and there are also a few key answers he made to questions at approximately 1:24 and 1:28.

Thank you so much again for supporting our family as we continue to fight to bring our father, Bob Levinson, home to us.

http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/hearing-americans-detained-iran

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Statement by Christine Levinson, Wife of Robert Levinson, in Response to President Obama’s Statement

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.

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Statement by the President on U.S. Citizens Detained or Missing in Iran

https://m.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/03/20/statement-president-us-citizens-detained-or-missing-iran

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.

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Reward Increased to $5 Million in Robert Levinson Case

http://www.fbi.gov/news/news_blog/reward-increased-to-5-million-in-robert-levinson-case

Reward Increased to $5 Million in Robert Levinson Case

Updated Billboard Small
Robert Levinson went missing from Kish Island, Iran, on March 9, 2007.

On March 9, 2007, retired FBI agent Robert Levinson went missing from Kish Island, Iran, and today, on the eighth anniversary of his disappearance, the FBI has increased its reward to up to $5 million for information leading directly to his safe location, recovery, and return. Levinson, who will turn 67 tomorrow, is now one of the longest-held American hostages in history.

“Today we mark eight years since Bob disappeared in Iran, and we are increasing the reward for his location and safe return to his family,” said FBI Director James B. Comey. “We ask anyone with information to contact the FBI. It is long past time for Bob to come home.”

Anyone with information regarding Levinson or his captors is encouraged to contact the FBI at https://tips.fbi.gov. Information will be kept confidential and can be provided anonymously.

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Statement for the March 9th Anniversary of Hostage Bob Levinson

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.

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State Department Calls on Iran to Release American Prisoners

Found here:  http://bit.ly/1otdFZ8

By Phillip Swarts – The Washington Times – Friday, August 29, 2014

Marking the three-year anniversary of the arrest of a U.S. citizen in Iran, the State Department called upon the Islamic government to release all Americans detained by the nation.

“The United States remains committed to returning all of them to their families, friends and loved ones,” the agency said in a press release.

Friday marks the third anniversary since Amir Hekmati was arrested on espionage charges. The U.S. government has stated that the charges are false and that Mr. Hekmati traveled to Iran to visit family.

The agency also called for the release of Saeed Abedini, a Christian pastor supposedly arrested due to his religious beliefs; and Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter. Mr. Rezaian’s wife, Yeganeh Salehi, is a writer for a Middle Eastern paper and is also being held.

 

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Bob’s Voicemail Message


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.

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Moment of Silence for Bob Levinson, Friday, March 7, 2014 at 3pm EST

The Society of Former Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Society) and the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA) are asking the 20,000 members of both associations to observe a moment of silence on Friday, March 7 at 3:00pm EST to mark the seventh anniversary of the disappearance of former Special Agent Robert Levinson.

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