WASHINGTON, May 6 (RIA Novosti) – A community activist in Worcester, Massachusetts, is leading a grassroots drive to drum up several thousand dollars to ship the body of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev to Russia amid an escalating controversy over what to do with the alleged terrorists’ remains.
“We will appeal to the residents of Worcester, Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the nation to return his body to his Russian homeland,” the activist, William Breault, told local media. “My sympathy goes to the families of those that died, lost limbs and to the hundreds that were wounded.”
Several area cemeteries have refused to provide a gravesite for Tsarnaev’s body, which is currently being held in a Worcester funeral parlor.
The accused bomber lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts and city officials said it would not allow him to be buried there.
“I have determined that it is not in the best interest of peace within the city to execute a cemetery deed for a plot within the Cambridge Cemetery for the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev," Cambridge City Manager Robert Healey said in a statement Sunday.
Breault was to announce a fundraising drive Monday to collect the estimated $3,000 to $7,000 needed to ship Tsarnaev’s body to Russia from Worcester.
He told Worcester Mag that he plans to kick in the initial $500, saying that Tsarnaev’s body was brought to a local funeral parlor “under the cover of darkness.”
“Let the State Department, the Russian government, his parents get involved, in taking the body back to his home country,” he told the weekly newspaper.
Tsarnaev’s body was released by the authorities on Thursday and later taken to Graham Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Parlors in the city of Worcester, 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Boston, after originally having been taken to a different funeral parlor, where about 20 protesters gathered, The Associated Press reported.
Graham Putnam and Mahoney’s director, Peter Stefan, has said he and Tsarnaev’s relatives have been unable to find a cemetery willing to accept the body.
“We’re working around here to bury someone and we’re not having any luck,” Stefan told a news conference Monday morning.
Stefan said sending Tsaranev’s body back to his parents in the restive Russian region of Dagestan would “eliminate all the problems,” but that diplomatic assistance may be needed.
“Maybe the State Department could give us some help,” he said.
Tamerlan Tsaranev’s uncle, Ruslan Tsami, who in the days following the bombing talked about the “shame” his nephews had brought on the family, arrived in Massachusetts from Maryland over the weekend to claim the body and try to arrange burial rites for Tamerlan, who was Muslim.
Tsarnaev, who was killed in a shootout with police in Watertown, Massachusetts on April 19, is suspected together with his 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar of planting two bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured more than 260 on April 15.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was detained later on April 19 following a massive manhunt in and around Boston, and is being held at a prison medical facility in Massachusetts.