The family of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who disappeared during a March 2007 visit to the Iranian island of Kish, has released new photographs of him in captivity.
In the photos, which were provided to RFE/RL, Levinson sports long gray hair and a long beard and is dressed in an orange jumpsuit similar to those worn by prisoners at the U.S.-run Guantanamo Bay detention center. He is holding various signs written in crude English that ask for help or taunt the United States.
Levinson’s wife, Christine Levinson, spoke to RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari about the photos and her husband's case.
RFE/RL: When did you receive the photos that you released to the media on January 8?
These photos were received by us in April of 2011.
RFE/RL: Why did you release them now?
When we received them, they were simply photographs with no indication of what purpose they served, and so there was no reason to put them out there because they didn’t do anything to help us resolve this case.
RFE/RL: What has changed since then? Do you now have some clues about the photos?
I feel that at this moment in time it’s important for people to see what has happened, that we have tried to get back in touch with these people to find out what needs to be done. And so far, we have still not received any information.
RFE/RL: Was the last time you heard from the people who are holding your husband captive when you received these photos?
That was the last time we had any information about Bob from anyone.
RFE/RL: I’m sure you’ve shared these photos with U.S. intelligence officials. What have they told you about them?
Well, we did share them with the FBI, and unfortunately we don’t know anything more than what you see in the pictures. They did not tell us any information about the photos.
RFE/RL: How did your husband seem to you in the photos?
In those pictures, he seemed healthy. The one thing I was able to find out about those pictures was that it was impossible for those pictures to [have been] taken in the short time between [the time ] we received the [November 2010] video
and [these] pictures, and so it was impossible for him to grow all that hair. So everyone believes those pictures were taken before the video.
RFE/RL: Do you still believe your husband is alive?
Yes, I do. Unfortunately, since we haven’t heard anything, we are concerned about his health, and that’s one of the main reasons -- he is going to be 65 on March 10 of 2013.
Our oldest daughter is getting married in a month, and I am very upset and my family is heartbroken that we do not have him home for any of these major life events.
RFE/RL: Some U.S. officials apparently believe that the Iranian establishment is behind these images. Do you believe Iran is involved in this?
What I know is that Bob disappeared on Kish Island, which is part of Iran, and he has not been seen since, and there has been no information from him since he was on Kish Island other than what I learned when I was in Iran
, which indicates that he had not left there.
I need the Iranian government to take the time to resolve this issue. They have not helped us to resolve this at all. And after almost six years, it is time for this to be resolved.