Almost a month after he was shot and killed by a Boston FBI agent, Ibragim Todashev's body was loaded on a 5:40 p.m. flight to Russia on Tuesday, concluding his family’s nearly monthlong process of getting his body home.
Todashev's family has attempted to ship the body back to Russia since it was released by the Florida medical examiner the week after the shooting on May 22. However, according to family members and friends, the FBI has yet to release his green card and passport, both confiscated during their investigation, making it difficult to book a flight.
Todashev, 27, a Russian native living in Orlando when he was killed, was a friend of accused Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev and was interviewed several times about that relationship.
During his final voluntary interview, Todashev was shot multiple times and killed by an agent who said the man attacked him. Details of what happened in the moments before the shooting remain shrouded in secrecy, with the FBI refusing to release any information, citing an ongoing investigation.
Unnamed law enforcement officials have leaked various, conflicting versions of the altercation to various news organizations, including the Globe. Some allege that Todashev wielded a knife, sword, blade, or broomstick. Others have told reporters that he was unarmed.
The Muslim civil rights group representing the family has called for an independent investigation into the shooting and has begun its own examination of whether excessive force was used.
Todashev’s family was forced to scrap plans to ship his body to Russia last weekend when they were informed by Delta Airlines, citing a similar decision regarding the body of Tsarnaev, that the company would not fly the body back, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, retained by Todashev's family as legal counsel.
After unsuccessfully petitioning Delta, the family had Todashev's body loaded onto another commercial airline’s flight Tuesday evening, accompanied by his wife and father.
“We want to see justice done here,” said Hassan Shibly, CAIR’s spokesman. “There is an endless number of unanswered questions surrounding this shooting.”
Abdul-Baki Todashev traveled from Russia last week to help finalize travel plans for his son’s body and view the scene of the shooting.
The group’s civil rights attorneys said they are looking into whether Delta’s refusal to transport the body meets the legal threshold for a discrimination suit.
The airline’s corporate policy states the airline will ship a body as long as a birth certificate can be produced, said Thania Diaz Clevenger, the group’s civil rights director. But even when that document was produced, an airline representative informed CAIR that it would not ship the body, citing a similar decision made during the effort to bury Tsarnaev.
“It’s outrageous,” said Diaz Clevenger.
Delta Airlines confirmed to the Globe Tuesday that it had turned the body away, but would not explain why.
“Delta made a business decision not to transport the remains back to Russia,” said Russell Cason, a Delta spokesman, in a statement. He declined to elaborate.Wesley Lowery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.