Deceased Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev will soon be released from a medical examiner’s office and given a traditional Muslim funeral.
The body of Tamerlan, who died in April during a shootout with police in Watertown, Mass., was never claimed by his wife Katherine Russell. The 26-year-old’s body has remained at the medical examiner’s office since April 19. Russell gave permission this week for her husband’s family to claim the body.
Tamerlan's uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, said he contacted a mosque to arrange for his funeral.
“Of course, family members will take possession of the body,” Tsarni told The Associated Press Tuesday night. “We’ll do it. We will do it. A family is a family.”
Russell’s attorney, Amato DeLuca, said in a statement Tuesday that the widow had only just learned that the medical examiner was ready to release his body and that she wants it to be given to his family.
Funerals in Sharia, or Islamic law, should take place shortly after death. Cremation of a corpse is forbidden. Funeral rights include bathing and shrouding the body, burial and then prayer.
Widows in Islam are instructed by the Qur’an to wait four lunar months and 10 days before getting engaged again. Husbands are expected to make a will to care for their widow in their absence for at least a year, unless she herself has left the marriage home. Russell, who has distanced herself from the Tsarnaev family since her husband's death, took her 3-year-old daughter and has been staying with her parents.
DeLuca said Tamerlan's body will not likely be released to his family in the U.S. until the end of the week. With his body, the medical examiner will release the cause of death.
Tamerlan died after running out of ammunition during a shootout with police. His 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar escaped police in an SUV. He reportedly ran over and dragged his brother’s body.
Dzhokhar is currently being held at Federal Medical Center in Devens, Mass. He is charged with using a weapon of mass destruction.