Rep. Zeldin Renews Calls For Justice On 21st Anniversary Of Murders Of Bytyqi Brothers
PATCHOGUE, NY - Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, issued a statement today on the 21st 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, were 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.
Last year, Representatives Lee Zeldin and Eliot Engel (D, NY-16), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, secured House passage of their legislation (H.Con.Res.32) calling for justice for the Bytyqi Brothers following a meeting they had with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to continue to demand justice in this case.
“Every year, we remember Ylli, Agron, and Mehmet Bytyqi, who were senselessly and brutally murdered 21 years ago. These local brothers set off to stop horrific crimes against humanity, and after their valiant mission, they chose to embark on a civilian humanitarian mission, during which they were arrested after accidentally crossing into Serbian-controlled territory. After receiving a judicial order of release two weeks later, the brothers were kidnapped, murdered, and dumped into a mass grave by Serbian officials still in power to this day,” said Congressman Zeldin.
“It is entirely unacceptable that despite so many promises by Serbian officials to resolve this horrific case of state-sponsored murder, no individuals have ever been found guilty. It is the Serbian government’s responsibility to resolve this case, and my resolution, that passed the House last year, underscores 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.”