Congressman Lee Zeldin the Albanian Warrior in Washington D.C
WASHINGTON - Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, issued a statement on the 20th anniversary of the 1999 executions of NY-1 residents, Ylli, Agron and Mehmet Bytyqi, who resided in Hampton Bays, New York.
In July 1999, the three brothers, Ylli, 25 years old, Agron, 23 years old, and Mehmet Bytyqi, 21 years old, went overseas towards the end of the Kosovo war and were arrested when they accidentally crossed into Serbian-controlled territory. The brothers were arrested by Serbian authorities for illegally entering the country, and were brutally executed shortly after on July 8, 1999. While Serbian authorities have investigated the deaths of the brothers, there have been no charges brought against those responsible for these murders. Representatives Lee Zeldin and Eliot Engel (D, NY-16), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, reintroduced legislation this year (H.Con.Res.32), which passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee last year, calling for justice for the Bytyqi Brothers. In December 2018, the Department of State designated Goran Radosavljevic of Serbia under Section 7031(c) due to his involvement in gross violations of human rights, including the murder of the Bytyqi brothers, and, earlier this year, Ranking Member Zeldin and Chairman Engel met in Munich, Germany, with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to continue to demand justice in this case.
“Today, we remember Ylli, Agron, and Mehmet Bytyqi, who were senselessly and brutally murdered 20 years ago. The Bytyqi brothers left the comfort and safety of their homes in the United States to help stop horrific crimes against humanity abroad. After their service in uniform was over, they chose to embark on a civilian humanitarian mission, during which they were arrested after accidentally crossing into Serbian-controlled territory. Two weeks later, they were given a judicial order of release. Instead, the brothers were kidnapped, murdered, and dumped into a mass grave in Serbia by government officials still serving today,” said Congressman Zeldin. “Since taking office, I have been committed to helping the Bytyqi family receive the justice they have long deserved. It is absolutely reprehensible that, despite many promises by Serbian officials to resolve the case of this state-sponsored murder, no individual has ever been found guilty of this horrible crime, nor of any other crimes associated with the deaths of these innocent Americans. It is the Serbian government’s responsibility to resolve this case, and my resolution notes that progress with this investigation should remain a significant factor which determines the further development of U.S.-Serbian relations. The Bytyqi brothers gave their lives to fight injustice; now justice needs to be delivered for their family.”