October 11. 2009, Rochester Hills, Michigan -- Approximately 550 Albanians jammed St. Paul's Albanian Catholic Church and Community Center Sunday afternoon to welcome home Kola and Rrok Dedvukaj who served three years behind bars in Montenegro for crimes unsubstantiated to this very day.
Gjergj Ivezaj, President of the Albanian-American Association "Malesia e Madhe," gave a brief synopsis of their plight and described the time-line of events that followed their arrests, including the tireless efforts from the Diaspora to petition U.S. government agencies, IGOs and NGOs in an attempt to underscore the abuses that were being perpetrated in Montenegro. Following Mr. Ivezaj a heart-felt greeting was delivered by the community and religious leader, Father Anton Kcira, who welcomed the men home and assured them that the community and parish was with them during their entire ordeal.
Kola touched those in attendance with his somber yet brave account of the events that led to their conviction, maintaining that the charges wee illegal and never proven. Stating that he and the other 15 prisoners stood in front of the judge on 65 separate occasions, there was no "crack" in the armor of the Albanian prisoners, and as much as the officers abused, beat, tormented, and threatened their lives, no Albanian prisoner turned on the other, but all maintained their innocence to this very day. Kola reminded everyone in attendance that no release will be celebrated until every prisoner is released and reunited with their families.
Rroku followed Kola and stressed that our struggle is not over, it only begins. HE was grateful in all the help the various Albanian organizations provided and reminded all in attendance that Montenegro's intent is to wipe all Albanians out, it has been for centuries before, and still continues to this day. "We must maintain our ground and and defend our rights that are guaranteed to us by international law", Rroku maintained. "These laws, in the minds of Montenegrins, are not equal for Albanians, as proven during the illegal torture they experiences."
The mood of the crowd was supportive and with every show of passion and energy to continue to fight for the rights of Albanians, joy and applaud echoed off the walls as the crowd roared in agreement. After the event, attendees mingled with one another and discussed various ways to assemble and continue to work with their brethren in Malesia to expose the criminal apparatus that is suffocating Albanians in Montenegro.