The imam in a Turkish mosque, also serving as a public servant for carrying out Islamic rituals after one’s death, refused to wash the corpse of the deceased, a political prisoner who recently died under suspicious circumstances in an intensive care unit after he was found unconscious in his prison cell and taken to the hospital, Mezopotamya News Agency reported on Friday.
According to the news report, while a public funeral car was denied to the family of Mehmet Sevinç at the Istanbul airport where his remains arrived on Thursday, the family provided their own means of transport to a mosque in a nearby town where the procession was planned to be held.
However, the family was faced with a rejection of service by the imam, the community leader of the mosque and a public servant for performing Islamic rituals. Although Islamic rules require the rinsing of a corpse before burial, the imam asserted that rinsing the corpse would be a ‘violation of regulations’ in this case.
While the corpse was washed by another imam who arrived with the family, people who came for the funeral procession were fined by the police for having parked their cars near the mosque, and reporters for Mezopotamya News Agency and Jin News were verbally and physically harassed by the police, and prevented from taking photos at the scene.
Mehmet Sevinç was arrested in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority province of Batman (Êlih) in 1992 on an accusation of illegal political activity, and he was consequently sentenced to life imprisonment.
He was recently found unconscious in his prison cell on 4 April, allegedly at 3 AM, and was taken to a hospital where he underwent brain surgery. At 11 AM, his family was informed of his death.
His daughter Berivan Seviç told Mezopotamya News Agency:
“We don’t actually know what the cause of his death really was, what happened to him. It wasn’t even the doctors who informed us of his death but the soldiers.”
Mehmet Sevinç was expected to be released in 1.5 years.