December 03, 2009

American Hostage in Iran Marks 1000 Days in Captivity Today

It is good news that five British sailors who strayed into Iranian waters were freed by Iran a week after their arrest. Four Americans detained in Iran are not so fortunate.

Three American hikers who inadvertently crossed the border during a hike in Kurdistan have been held in the infamous Evin Prison for 124 days. The hikers' families' website is here:

Iran has said they are suspected of illegal entry. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said over two months ago that he would ask the Iranian judiciary to expedite the case and show maximum leniency to the three Americans, all graduates of the University of California, Berkeley. Despite this encouraging signal, the three friends remain held without charge.

As egregious as the hikers case is, even more outrageous is the case of Bob Levinson. Today marks the 1000th day that this American citizen has been imprisoned incommunicado in Iran. Levinson went "missing" on the Iranian island of Kish on March 9th, 2007 while on a day trip. The Levinson family's website makes the point that "Kish Island is not even part of the Iranian mainland - it is a free trade zone that does not require a visa for entry."

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Unlike the case of the American hikers, the Iranian government refuses to publicly acknowledge that Mr. Levinson is in their custody. Its been almost three years. An article by Iranian PressTV, published a few weeks after Levinson's disappearance, stated that "the truth of the matter is he has been in the hands of Iranian security forces since the early hours of March 9" [2007], the Levinson family's website notes. That I believe.

Mrs. Levinson issued a statement to mark this sad day for her family and all Americans:

Canada East: "The past 1,000 days have been a nightmare from which my children and I struggle daily to wake," she said. "Bob has missed his own birthday celebrations with us three times. He is 61 now, and we do not even know if he is in good health."

"I am a stay-at-home mother of seven children who wants to find her husband of 35 years and bring him home," she said in a statement made available to The AP on the eve of the anniversary of his disappearance. "My family and I have no interest in any other issue concerning Iran. We are pleading for a humanitarian gesture from those who can help us."

On November 4, 1979, 53 Americans were taken hostage for 444 days, triggering an international crisis. They were released January 20, 1981, six minutes after the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. Bob Levinson has been held hostage incommunicado for more than twice that long by the terror sponsoring, brutally repressive and maniacal Iranian regime. For what, a way to pressure the US in nuclear talks?

No one is buying the ludicrous explanation that the Iranian government doesn't know where he is. Its a lot to expect, but some faction of the the Iranian government or even one official with a shred of civility should at least notify his family of his health and location. But more to the point, that lunatic Ahmadinejad should cough him up pronto.

By Jane at 12:01 AM | Comments |