The body of Zeynel Abidin Han, a Kurdish author, poet and translator who died in Berlin on Feb. 26 and was to be buried in his hometown of Muş in southeastern Turkey, was removed from a hearse upon an order from Justice and Development Party (AKP) Muş Mayor Feyat Asya, according to the Mezopotamya news agency.
The family of Han, who died of a heart attack, wanted to bury him in his hometown in the Varto district in Muş. The author’s body was taken from the airport by a hearse belonging to the Muş Municipality to be taken to Varto, but his coffin had to be left on the side of the road due to an order from Mayor Asya.
The author’s coffin was then loaded into in a pickup and taken to Varto for burial.
Police in Varto limited the number of people attending the funeral ceremony, warning that a large crowd could lead to provocations.
The imam in the district refused to hold funeral prayers for Han due to an order from the Varto trustee, appointed mayor by the government after the former Kurdish mayor was removed from office on terrorism charges.
The author was laid to rest after funeral prayers were said by his relatives at the Varto Cemevi, an Alevi place of worship.
Han, who was born in Varto in 1961, fled to Germany after he was jailed in Turkey for his political views. He played a significant role in the development of Kurdish language and literature by assisting in the publication of many books in Kurdish.