Soleiman Faqiri’s family demands report on his death be released after government dodges questions in legislature

The family of a Ontario man who died at a correctional facility in Lyndsay, Ont. in 2016 is demanding an Ontario government report regarding his death be made public.

Soleiman Faqiri, 30, suffered from schizophrenia and died in a segregation cell 11 days after an incident in Ajax in 2016.

 

His family alleges he was beaten while awaiting a transfer to hospital for his mental health issues.

“The government needs to take the courage, honour, and respect for all Ontarians. Issue this report. Accept responsibility,’ Faqiri’s brother, Yusuf Faqiri, told CTV News Toronto on Friday.

On Thursday, the NDP raised the case in the legislature saying the government is sitting on their correctional services oversight report on Faqiri’s Death

“Will the Solicitor General do the right thing? Make this report public and take a step closer toward justice for Mr. Faqiri’s family?,” Gurratan Singh, the NDP’s Attorney General Critic asked .

“The example that the member shared is disturbing for us. When we formed our government, we had the opportunity to actually make some investments in corrections. We did that decisively and we did that quickly,” Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said.

Singh followed up again asking if the government would release the report and make it public. Jones responded by speaking about the challenging environment around people with mental health and addiction issues coming into government institutions and the investments for better tools and training.

Jones did not answer Singh’s question about making the report public.

“The minister was not able to even utter my brother’s name. It was a profoundly difficult exchange,” Yusuf said.

It’s since been four and a half years since Faqiri died. Yusuf says time has not brought them closure or closer to justice.

“To this day, they have not issued an apology to my mother who had to bury a child. My brother died under their care,” Yusuf said.

When asked about making the report public, both the offices of the Solicitor General and Attorney General told CTV News it would be inappropriate to comment further, as a coroner’s inquest is planned.

The Office of the Chief Coroner said the inquest hasn't been scheduled, but work is ongoing to move towards an inquest.

Adding inquests have been paused due to the pandemic, but will be starting up again in June.

While some individuals involved in the incident causing Faqiri’s death were fired, the OPP decided not to lay charges last year, Yusuf said, who not only wants to see the report released but charges laid.

“People with mental illness need to be treated better, they should not be given to their families in a body bag and it seems like my brother’s life was viewed as cheap because he had a mental illness,” Yusuf said .

Releasing the report, he said, is a step towards making things right.