01/16/2012 01:20 EST | Updated 03/17/2012 05:12 EDT

Fight over Montreal police shooting victim's body

Members of Montreal's Iranian community are locked in a battle over what to do with the body of the homeless man who was shot and killed by Montreal police on Jan. 6.

Authorities have been unable to locate Farshad Mohammadi's family to notify them of the 34-year-old's death and to find out his last wishes.

Mohammadi, a refugee from Iran's Kurdish community, was shot and killed at the Bonaventure metro station after he allegedly attacked an officer with an exacto knife.

The Montreal Iranian Islamic Centre has put in a formal request for the body, and it wishes to conduct a traditional Muslim funeral.

Another group, however, wants to claim Mohammadi's body in order to organize a secular funeral. Québec Solidaire MNA Amir Khadir is a member of the latter group, saying it would be against Mohammadi's wishes for Montreal's Iranian Islamic Centre to organize his last rites.

"I don't think it's really appropriate," said Khadir. "They should not try to take control because...Farshad was not at ease with the Iranian government and the actual mosque that we're talking about is doing...consular work in Montreal for the Iranian embassy."

Khadir said he didn't expect the dispute to get ugly, saying both sides want Mohammadi to receive a dignified commemoration.

The politician also said he believes the coroner's office wishes to give the police more time to find relatives before making a decision.

Mohammadi's body, which is being held at the morgue, is one of five unclaimed bodies of which the Quebec coroner's office is in charge.

Aside from Mohammadi's, one female and two male bodies are at Montreal's morgue, while one female is being held at the Quebec City morgue.

Anybody with information or who wishes to claim the bodies can contact the Quebec coroner's office.