….WAITING FOR JUSTICE.
Soleiman’s family and his supporters’ anger only grows as court documents suggest jail guards violated policies and ignored guidelines when they killed him on December 15 in 2016. The province fired two managers as scapegoats, but its culpability is detailed by its refusal to hold jail staff members involved in this crime accountable, allowing a questionable OPP investigation to prevail.
Ottawa lawyer Michael Spratt’s essay, “The dangers of turning a blind eye to abuse in jails,” was published on the editorial page of the Wednesday, January 20 Toronto Star. Referring to Soleiman Faqiri’s death, Mr. Spratt writes “…despite the compelling evidence suggesting the killing was a criminal offence, the OPP declined to charge any of the guards because they could not say for sure who delivered the fatal blow. The OPP’s absurd justification for the lack of charges is a legal fiction that smells of a coverup.”
Mr. Spratt believes police should be charging the guards involved in the killing as well as investigating politicians who often intentionally ignore the violence in the jails they supervise. He tells us that we should not be surprised by the atrocities that occur in jails when politicians go so far as to dismiss “judicial condemnation” for the conditions they allow to persist.
The closing argument demands that “Those who commit murder, even if they are jail guards, should be held to account. And so should the politicians who enable them.”
We thanked him for his perspective, adding in our letter that “Those guards wanted Faqiri in that cell where he died. Once inside, all they had to do was close the door. Why didn’t they just do that and leave him alone? It’s the kind of scene that plays out in provincial and federal institutions across Canada daily. The inmate had given guards a hard time and they wanted to teach him a lesson. They may not have intended to kill him, but they sure as hell didn’t care if he died.”
The minister needed to be reminded of the obvious:-
January 25, 2021
The Honourable Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General,
George Drew Building,
Re: Soleiman Faqiri
A group of men is brawling one afternoon in the courtyard of the YMCA across Grosvenor Street from your office. It’s noisy. The storm of flailing arms and legs, shouts, screams, and shuffling feet is incessant, and it appears focused on just one person, a victim of the melee.
The police arrive, the dust settles. A man lies dead on the concrete plaza. Notes and photos are taken, men are interviewed. No one is arrested. An investigation follows. No charges are laid. Why? The police cannot determine which of that group of men may be responsible for the homicide.
Yes, unless those men were employed by Ontario’s correctional services, in uniform and working in our jails. Like the men who murdered Soleiman Faqiri in Lindsay back in December of 2016 and still walk free. And what about ministry personnel like you who enable the daily atrocities and abuses that characterize life in provincial institutions by turning a blind eye to violence and a deaf ear to judicial reprimands? Impunity extends to you too, doesn’t it.
Are you able to feel shame?
Soleiman’s family is in the midst of a $14.3 lawsuit against Ontario and the individuals responsible for his death. That however is the sound of only one shoe dropping. How about criminal charges where criminal charges are due as a next step!
Prisons as long term care facilities….and more….next time.