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Rep. Zeldin Delivers Floor Speech in Support of His Bytyqi Brothers Resolution Following the 18th Anniversary of their Murder

July 13, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC - On July 12, 2017, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) spoke on the House floor in support of his legislation, House Concurrent Resolution 20, which the Congressman reintroduced in the 115th Congress. The resolution calls for justice following the 1999 executions of NY-1 residents, Ylli, Agron, and Mehmet Bytyqi, who resided in Hampton Bays, New York. You can watch Congressman Zeldin’s floor speech here

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 accidently crossed into Serbian-controlled territory. The brothers were arrested by Serbian authorities for illegally entering the country, and were brutally executed shortly after. While Serbian authorities have investigated the deaths of the brothers, there have been no charges brought against those responsible for these murders. Since taking office in 2015, Congressman Zeldin has been advocating for the Government of Serbia, and all relevant parties, to hold accountable those responsible for the executions of the Bytyqi brothers.

Congressman Zeldin said, “Today, we remember Ylli, Agron, and Mehmet Bytyqi, who were senselessly and brutally murdered 18 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, these three brothers chose to embark on a civilian humanitarian mission, where they were arrested after accidentally crossing into Serbian-controlled territory. Two weeks later, they were given a judicial order of release. Instead, the brutal execution of these men followed shortly after, and it was not until 2001, two years later, that their remains were found in a mass grave. While Serbian authorities have investigated the deaths of the brothers, there have been no charges brought against those responsible for these murders. Moreover, the main suspect remains a prominent member of the governing political party. Since taking office, I have been committed to helping the Bytyqi family receive the justice they have long deserved, and have been in contact with them as we work to resolve this situation. It is absolutely reprehensible that, despite many promises by Serbian officials to resolve the case, 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 responsibility of the Serbian government to resolve this case, and my resolution notes that progress into this investigation should remain a significant factor which determines the further development of U.S.-Serbian relations. Their inaction on finding and prosecuting those responsible is an insult not only to the memory of the Bytyqi brothers and their family, but to every American. The Bytyqi brothers gave their lives to fight injustice; it is now upon us to return this favor and deliver justice for their family.”