President Thaçi commemorates soldiers murdered in the Yugoslav army

Kline, May 18th, 2016 – The President of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi participated today in a memorial service on the occasion of the 26th anniversary of murder of Jetullah Desku in the former Yugoslav Army.

President Thaçi said that one of the most painful chapters in the history of Kosovo in the last decade of the century is the murder of young Albanians in the former Yugoslav Army.

“Today we remember one of the boys who was cowardly murdered twenty-six years ago in the military barracks of Subotica, the twenty-year-old boy, Jetullah Desku. Those were enormously hard feelings for the families, who were told that their boys were allegedly going for a regular military service and who would later return in coffins, murdered in the prime of their youth”, President Thaçi said.

He said that it is widely recognized that the Albanians as people in the communist Yugoslavia have been constantly persecuted, discriminated against, murdered and finally subjected to ethnic cleansing and genocide by the Serbian army and police.

“Even when someone had illusions that the spirit of brotherhood and unity was in favor of the Albanian population in the former Yugoslavia, it was exactly the time of our youth in military service that unveiled the true nature of Yugoslavia. Albanians were never treated as equals in the Yugoslav army, just as they were not treated the same in other spheres of political, educational, cultural life”, President Thaçi said.

The head of state said that during the so-called military service, Albanians were under close surveillance, especially by the secret service of the Yugoslav National Army (JNA).

He added that the frequent and systematic murder occurred particularly after the 1981 demonstrations.

“After this year, many arrests, detentions, trials and heavy sentences against Albanian soldiers by military courts across the former Yugoslavia came to the fore. These were always manipulated processes with allegedly hostile motives against the state and the Yugoslav army, they served so that many young Albanians would spend years in prisons with severe conditions throughout the former Yugoslavia”, President Thaçi said.

He said that Jetullah Desku and dozens of his friends are multiple victims of the JNA and the former Yugoslavia, and as such they are truly unmatched in the tragic history of Albanians in that state.

“They were murdered in betrayal by an army that tried to force them to be loyal to. They returned in their homes in sealed caskets, which no one was allowed to open, with false reportings on their suicide”, President Thaçi said.

Addressing Desku family, President Thaçi said that the murder of Jetullah, twenty-six years ago, was hard for all Kosovo citizens, but it also showed the greatness of the family, with their attitude and coping with pain.

“You achieved to show publicly to the world that Jetullah Desku was murdered only because he was Albanian. You refused the presence of the Yugoslav army, the author of the crime, at the funeral of your son. You asked to bring to light Jetullah’s murder and to label it with the true name – murder, and not suicide. With your attitude you ensured the emergence of the truth in regards to the murder of Albanian soldiers in the Yugoslav army barracks. With your attitude you brought tens of thousands of people from all around Kosovo to attend Jetullah’s funeral, so that thousands of citizens would share your grief”, President Thaçi said.

Thaçi said that Jetullah’s funeral had turned into a manifestation of Albanian political unity and a symbol of increased political awareness among Kosovo people that Yugoslavia, orchestrated by Belgrade’s policy, has been and remained hostile towards Albanians.

President Thaçi, who, in a sign of respect, mentioned names of the many murdered Albanian soldiers in the Yugoslav army, concluded that the deaths of Jetullah Desku and of all the soldiers in the Yugoslav National Army will never be forgotten.

The memorial service on the occasion of the 26th anniversary of the murder of Jetullah Desku in the former Yugoslav Army was held at the “Jehona e Dukagjinit” Cultural Center in Kline.