Tamerlan Tsarnaev's uncle trying to arrange Boston bombings suspect's burial
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WORCESTER, Mass. -- Cemeteries across the Boston area have refused to bury deceased marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and the funeral director looking after the body said on Sunday it's time to "separate the sin from the sinner."
"I've been taking heat on this since day one," said Peter Stefan, of Graham Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Parlors in Worcester. "Let's get it over with."
Stefan said local laws require the government to provide a burial plot for indigent people, including Tsarnaev.
But each of his requests to bury the man suspected of planning the April 15 bombings that killed three and injured more than 260 have been rejected, and local and federal officials have not helped, Stefan said.
The government of Russia -- where Tsarnaev was born before his family moved to the United States more than a decade ago -- has shown no interest in claiming the body and returning it to Tsarnaev's parents.
"The White House won't do anything and the Russians don't want him," Stefan said. "I'm the last stop."
Sunday, Tsarnaev's uncle visited the funeral home to help in the search for a willing cemetery and to pray along with three other men over Tsarnaev's body. Ruslan Tsarni said he could "understand no one wants to associate their names with such evil events."
Yet, his nephew "has no other place to be buried," Tsarni said outside the funeral home. "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."
Outside, about 10 demonstrators gathered to denounce the director for accepting Tsarnaev's body.
"He should not be buried on U.S. soil," said Margaret Fanworth of Worcester. "We're at war with terrorists. Why are we giving them the same courtesy?"
As Fanworth and other protesters chanted "get the terrorist out of our city," Stefan said he had received more commendations then negative reaction.
"As this situation sinks in, people realize we have to" bury Tsarnaev. "That's what this country stands for," Stefan said. "Criticize me all you want, but criticism is cheap. We need ideas, and" the protesters "don't have any."
Cambridge officials issued a statement Sunday night saying they were not bound to allow Tsarnaev to be buried in the Cambridge Cemetery, where the indigent are sometimes laid to rest.
"The difficult and stressful efforts of the residents of the City of Cambridge to return to a peaceful life would be adversely impacted by the turmoil, protests and widespread media presence at such an interment," city manager Robert Healy said.