Entries in Captive (5)


New Pictures of Ex-FBI Agent Robert Levinson Kidnapped in Iran

The family of Robert Levinson has released new images of the former FBI agent, who was kidnapped in Iran in 2007. (The Levinson Family(NEW YORK) -- The family of a former FBI agent who was kidnapped in Iran has released a new series of images of the 64-year-old man, showing him draped in chains and dressed in what appears to be a mock prison uniform. In each image he holds a sign, one of which reads, "Help me."

Robert Levinson was kidnapped while on a business trip to Iran's Kish Island in 2007. In the new images provided to ABC News and other outlets, the first made public since a 2010 "proof of life" video was released in December 2011, Levinson stares blankly into the camera for the five photos, his face framed by wild white hair and an unkempt white beard.

One of the signs makes reference to the U.S. government's detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where more than 160 suspected Taliban fighters and al Qaeda members are held. "I Am Here in Guantanamo Do You Know Where It Is?" reads the sign.

"This is the result of 30 years serving for USA," says another. "Why you can not help me [sic]."

Authorities either do not know or have not publicly identified Levinson's suspected captors, but the U.S. government has repeatedly asked the Iranian government's help in finding him.

During Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to the United Nations in New York in September 2012, Levinson's family blanketed Times Square with missing posters and ads for Levinson. During the same visit, Ahmadinejad hinted to CBS News that Levinson may have been in Iranian custody.

"I remember that last year Iranian and American intelligence groups had a meeting, but I haven't followed up on it," he said in response to a question about Levinson.

In March 2012, the FBI announced a $1 million reward for information leading to Levinson's safe return.

The release of the new photos came the same day another American family with a relative held in Iran announced they were planning a demonstration outside Iran's Permanent Mission to the United Nations.

On Wednesday, Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine who was arrested by the Iranian government on espionage charges, will have been held in the Middle Eastern nation for 500 days. He was originally sentenced to death, but the Iranian government later ordered a retrial.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News shortly after his son's arrest was made public, Hekmati's father said that his son was no spy.

"My son is no spy. He is innocent. He's a good fellow, a good citizen, a good man," Hekmati said. "These are all unfounded allegations and a bunch of lies."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


American in Al Qaeda Custody Begs Obama to Meet Captives' Demands

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A 70-year-old American contractor who was kidnapped by al Qaeda in Pakistan last August appeared in a new video released Sunday in which he begs President Obama to bow to his captors' demands in order to gain his release or else, he warns, they won't allow him to live.

Warren Weinstein, who appears to be in good health, first assures his wife, Elaine, that he is well and being cared for and then directly appeals to Obama to "respond to the demands from the mujahideen.  My life is in your hands, Mr. President.  If you accept the demands, I live.  If you don't accept the demands, then I die."

Weinstein worked for USAID and the Peace Corps, and mentions his experience in the video, stating, "I've done a lot of service for my country, and I would hope that my country will now look after me and take care of me and meet the demands of the mujahideen."  He adds that meeting the demands are easy.

The contractor brings up the fact that like Obama, he also has two daughters that he wants to see again.

Previously, al Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri had claimed his group had Weinstein in captivity.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


American Released by Shiite Militia in Iraq After Nine Months

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- In a move that seemed to take everyone by surprise, a Shiite militia in Iraq freed a former U.S. soldier-turned-contractor over the weekend after he had been held for nine months in captivity.

The man was identified as Randy Michael Hultz, who was apparently the prisoner of the Promised Day Brigade, a Shiite militant group loyal to the radical cleric Muqtada al Sadr and which at one time was one of the most violent foes of the U.S. military in Iraq.

During an unexpected and seemingly spontaneous press conference outside the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, Hultz, who was wearing an Army uniform and standing alongside Iraqi officials, claimed he was abducted by the Promised Day Brigade last June.

Without going into specific details, Hultz said his captors told him his release "is a gift to me, my family and to the American people who oppose the war."

Hultz was then brought inside the Green Zone, where he was turned over to the United Nations before being brought to the U.S. Embassy in order to verify his identity.

There are records that indicate Hultz began serving in Iraq in 2003, quit the military in 2005 and began working in a civilian capacity.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Father 'Proud' of Teen Son Who Escaped Captors in the Philippines

STR/AFP/Getty Images(LYNCHBURG, Va.) -- An American teenage boy outsmarted the members of a suspected al Qaeda-linked militant group, escaping after five months of being held hostage in a jungle in the Philippines.

Kevin Lunsmann, 14, was lost for nearly two days, roaming without shoes, before he was found by villagers, his father said.

ABC News affiliate WSET-TV in Virginia spoke to the boy's father, Heiko Lunsmann, who said he's so happy he's getting his son back.

"I'm so proud of my son, he's a hero, he wandered two days through the jungle," Heiko Lunsmann said.

"That was a tough time, it was tough five months," he said.  "I only know he is a hero and I'm so happy he escaped."

When Kevin Lunsmann spoke to his father for the first time, the boy proudly said, "I did it on my own, Dad, they didn't release me, I did it," family friend Jean Gowen told ABC News.

Kevin Lunsmann said he convinced his four armed captors that he was going to take a bath at a nearby stream, but then he decided to make a run for it.  He followed a river down a mountain in Basilan province before being found with bruises on his arms and feet late the next day by villagers.

This past summer, the boy was vacationing in the Philippines with his Filipino-American mother, Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, and his cousin Romnick Jakaria.  On July 12, the relatives were on an island near Zamboanga City when they were snatched and taken by boat to Basilan.  The captors then called the family in Campbell County, Va., to demand a ransom.

Gowen said Heiko Lunsmann paid an undisclosed ransom amount intended for the release of the boy and his mother two months ago, but only the mother was released.

"The deal was for them to release both Kevin and Gerfa at the time, but they only released one of them," Gowen said.  "I think they wanted more money."

The mother was freed when captors dropped her off at a wharf on Basilan.  Lunsmann's cousin also escaped from hostage holders last month, when Filipino army forces managed to get near the camp where they were held.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Father of Soldier Captured by Taliban Pleads for Son's Release

Majid Saeedi/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The father of Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier being held captive by the Taliban, released a statement on YouTube Friday pleading for the safe release of his son in the wake of the U.S. killing of Osama bin Laden.

"Our son is being exploited. It is past time for Bowe and the others to come home," said Robert Bergdahl in a video statement posted online.

In the three-minute message, he addresses the Pakistani military and thanked the Taliban commanders holding his son.

"Strangely, to some, we must also thank those who have cared for our son for almost 2 years," said Bergdahl. "We understand the rationale the Islamic Emirate has made through videos ... our son's safe return will only heighten public awareness of this."

He asked the Pakistani Army, which has been fighting the Taliban in the border region, to help secure his son's release.

"Our family knows the high price that has been paid by your men in the Army and Frontier Corps. We give our condolences and thanks to the families of those who have fallen for Pakistan."

The statement follows a video released by the Taliban earlier in the week featuring a 10-second clip of Bowe Bergdahl being blindfolded and led away by his captors. The appearance is the fifth time the Idaho-born U.S. soldier, now 25, has been seen since he was captured in June of 2009 along the Afghan-Pakistani border. Army spokesman Colonel Thomas Collins said that officials were studying the video and could not confirm if the shots were new or different than what had been released in previous videos.

Bergdahl was lured from his post in eastern Afghanistan by several Afghan National Army soldiers on June 30th, 2009 and then taken by Taliban fighters in a nearby village, according to a senior Pentagon official. Bergdahl was reportedly then moved to Pakistan.

At the time of his capture, Bergdahl was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska before deploying to Afghanistan. He was promoted to Specialist while in captivity.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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