Murdered Albanian-Americans last seen with interior ministry men: Batic

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Murdered Albanian-Americans last seen with interior ministry men: Batic
07/18/01 at 05:33:58
MON JUL 16 2001 03:07 P.M. G.M.T.

Murdered Albanian-Americans last seen with interior ministry men: Batic

BELGRADE, July 16 (AFP) - Three Albanian Americans reportedly found in a mass grave in Serbia were last seen in the hands of the Serbian interior ministry under the old regime of Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia's reformist justice minister said Monday.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that the three brothers -- identified as Ylli, Agron and Mehmet Bytyqi, ages 24, 23 and 21 -- had been found in a mass grave and appeared to have been murdered by the Serbian police just after the Kosovo war.

It said they were found with their hands tied with wire, their heads covered by black hoods, and were dressed in civilian clothes.

The men were shot at close range, and their bodies were dumped in a pit dug in the Yugoslav national forest near the Serbian town of Petrovo Selo, according to the Post.

"I asked for information from the prison in Prokuplje (in southern Serbia) where the Bytyqi brothers were jailed on June 26 1999," two weeks after NATO's air war against Yugoslav forces ended, said Justice Minister Vladan Batic.

He said the prison governor had ordered the release of the three brothers after their 15-day jail term had ended.

They left the jail on July 8 and were "handed over to employees of the Serbian interior ministry," said Batic, adding: "That is all I know of this affair."

He gave no reason for their detention, although the Bosnian Serb weekly Reporter, the only Serbian newspaper to report the case, said they were allegedly held for entering Serbia without visas.

Thousands of ethnic Albanians went missing during the 1998-99 Kosovo conflict, and the international community has accused Milosevic's forces of committing widespread atrocities.

The Serbian interior minister at the time, Vlajko Stojiljkovic, has been indicted by a UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague along with his former boss Slobodan Milosevic for his role in the brutal Yugoslav campaign in Kosovo.

The three brothers, who were part of a group of about 400 Albanian Americans who volunteered to join the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army, were the first US nationals to turn up in a mass Serbian grave, the Post report said.

Reporter said the three were originally from the southern Kosovo town of Urosevac.

The Post said Washington will be seeking answers in the case.

"Believe me, this is going to be a very important case for us," the US chief of mission in Yugoslavia, William Montgomery, told the daily. "We need to get real information from the Yugoslav authorities. We are going to insist they do a full investigation."

Montgomery told the Post that he and other US officials had sought information about the Bytyqis from the Yugoslav foreign ministry several times since Milosevic was ousted in October, but the ministry acknowledged only that the brothers had been imprisoned after the war ended.

It said circumstantial evidence raises the possibility of a revenge slaying by policemen, possibly motivated by anger over the leading role that the United States played in pressing for Western intervention in Kosovo.
Copyright (c) 2001, AFP
Re: Murdered Albanian-Americans last seen with interior ministry men: Batic
07/19/01 at 02:16:55
An investigation is attempting to establish whether the brothers were part of the so-called "Atlantic Brigade", in which ethnic Albanians from overseas fought alongside the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). The three apparently entered Kosovo from Albania in an effort to join the KLA.

Does anyone notice something funny about this paragraph? Look closely.

This is not from the article that I posted above, but from another report on this case from the site.

I can't make up my mind about whether to be a journalist or a critic of the Media.


Re: Murdered Albanian-Americans last seen with interior ministry men: Batic
07/19/01 at 02:29:04

I was skimming throught the article since I thought it would pretty much contain the same facts and guesses as to what happened to the three men.

When I decided to read the full article. So I went back and read it. After the paragraph above this is what the journalist had written whose name by the way is Vesna Peric Zimonjic.


Police found a southern Serbian court document in the pockets of one of them. It was dated 27 June 1999 and called for a 15-day detention of the trio for "illegal entry into Serbia".

The brothers apparently tried to leave Kosovo via Serbia after Nato air raids ended in June 1999. They were detained by Serbian police in the border town of Kursumlija on 26 June. A day later they were sentenced to 15 days in prison and expulsion from Serbia. But, when a court clerk went to notify them of the expulsion in the district prison of the southern Serbian town of Prokuplje on 8 July, the brothers were already gone, Mr Mihajlovic said. "It remains for us to see how the persons who should have been expelled ended up in Petrovo Selo, and who did that," he added.

For the full article please go to:

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