Ruslan Tsarni, the uncle of Boston Marathon bombing suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, arrived at a Massachusetts funeral parlor on Sunday to prepare for the funeral of Tamerlan, who was killed in a police shootout last month.
According to the Boston Globe, Tsarni plans to return to the funeral home Sunday afternoon to wash the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev according to Islamic tradition. Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a shootout with police in Watertown, Mass., on April 19, four days after he and his brother allegedly set off two homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring hundreds.
Tsarni will reportedly be joined by several other family members on Sunday night as they wash Tsarnaev’s body at the Graham Putnum & Mahoney Funeral Parlors in Worcester, Mass.
Family members hoped to perform a second autopsy of Tamerlan’s body, but that may not take place. Instead, family members may simply photograph the body for further investigation. According to Islamic tradition, Tsarnaev’s body cannot be inspected further once it is washed.
According to the Associated Press, funeral director Peter Stefan has come under considerable criticism for choosing to bury Tsarnaev. He has reported receiving harassing phone calls throughout the week, and on Sunday, several protesters showed up at the funeral home demanding that Tsarnaev, an immigrant, not be buried on American soil. However, Stefan says that his decision is strictly apolitical.
"We take an oath to do this. Can I pick and choose? No. Can I separate the sins from the sinners? No," Stefan told the Associated Press. "We are burying a dead body. That's what we do."
So far, Stefan has not been able to find a graveyard that will accept Tsarnaev’s body. Currently, his plan is to ask the city of Cambridge for a burial plot.
Tsarni, who has publicly denounced his nephews and their actions, told the Boston Globe that he is grateful for Stefan’s help in finding a proper burial for Tarmerlan.
“I appreciate the help that I’m receiving from Mr. Stefan,” Tsarni told the Boston Globe. “Tamerlan Tsarnaev has no other place to be buried. There is no other place to accept this body.”
“He lived in America. He grew up here and for the last 10 years he decided to be in Cambridge, therefore any contemplation that the body should be taken to a home country ... his home country is Cambridge, Massachusetts,” Tsarni said.
At the same time Tsarnaev’s body is being prepared for burial, the FBI plans to conduct another inspection of the Tsarnaev family home in Cambridge. According to the Boston Herald, the FBI has a search warrant for the home where Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s parents once lived.
“We are conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity as part of our ongoing investigation into the Marathon bombings,” FBI Boston spokeswoman Katherine Gulotta said. “Because the matter is pending, we aren’t able to discuss specific aspects of the case.”
The apartment once housed Tsarnaev’s parents (now divorced) as well as the Boston bombing suspect and his wife Katherine Russell.