“For the third time, police have decided not to lay charges in the 2016 death of Soleiman Faqiri….who was severely beaten, restrained and pepper-sprayed by correctional officers in an Ontario jail….its latest review into Soleiman’s death once again found no evidence that a crime had been committed.” Ben Cohen, Toronto Star, Wednesday, August 24, 2022
The Star’s staff reporter is referring to the murder of a 30-year-old mentally ill man in his cell at the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay on December 15, 2016.
OPP Detective Inspector Brad Collins wrote to the Faqiri family in February to say that even though a second post-mortem in 2021 by Ontario’s chief forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Pollanen determined Soleiman’s death was caused by jail guards, that didn’t change the OPP’s “prior investigative conclusions.” “This is because there remains insufficient evidence to form the requisite grounds to believe a criminal offence has been committed by an individual of a group.”
This, quite simply, is cow cookies.
Faqiri family lawyer Nader Hasan said of the OPP investigation that: “They know that the guards used force unlawfully on Soleiman. They know that the guards unlawfully confined Soleiman while they beat him. They know that the guards killed him while committing these crimes. Yet, the OPP continues to pretend that this is not murder.”
The question is why the obvious is not obvious?
This travesty prompted another letter to OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique, just as it did when the OPP declined to lay charges after their first investigation into Soleiman’s death. On August 26, I wrote:-
“My experience monitoring our prison industry tells me there is one point about Soleiman’s treatment that hasn’t appeared in the public record. The guards at the Central East Correctional Centre encountered difficulty in moving Soleiman from the shower to his cell on December 15, 2016. They succeeded in time, and all that was left was to close the cell door. There was no need for guards to be in his cell.
Why were they there? I know your experience tells you why, but I’ll put it down here anyway.
Guards were teaching Soleiman a lesson. He had given them a problem and he couldn’t be allowed to get away with it.
Every day in every provincial jail and federal prison in Canada, guards teach inmates a lesson. It’s wrong, unwarranted, it’s illegal. Sometimes an inmate is severely injured. Sometimes an inmate loses his life. An inmate such as Soleiman Faqiri.
It’s up to Soleiman Faqiri’s family and their supporters to demand accountability. It’s up to you to protect uniforms.”
There’s a hope this gave Commissioner Carrique after-lunch indigestion.
Yusuf Faqiri is Soleiman’s oldest brother and the founder of ‘Justice for Soli.’ Toronto’s Globe and Mail published his op-ed on Tuesday, August 30, “My brother’s death shows that in this country, there are two systems of justice.” Near the end he wrote: “We are now awaiting the coroner’s inquest, which will demonstrate even more clearly how the system failed Soli and my family. We intend to be involved.”
There is no date for that inquest at this point.
I sent Yusuf an email asking if he had ever considered that the OPP may be under pressure from the provincial and federal governments to not lay charges. After all, doing that would open a Pandora’s Box with consequences that would reverberate across the country.
The last Soleiman Faqiri posting here on January 31, 2021, “Restless in the grave,” referenced the family’s outstanding 14.3-million-dollar action against Ontario and some individuals involved in Soleiman’s murder. That suit may have been settled. It hasn’t been mentioned recently and would not likely be public knowledge if it was resolved.
Stay tuned. ‘Justice for Soli’ isn’t going away.