Family of Soleiman Faqiri has 'guarded optimism' as Ontario's top pathologist announces review of death
Yusuf Faqiri and his late brother were close, born just 18 months apart.
“Soleiman...Soleiman’s not coming back,” Faqiri said. “He’s gone and we might never fully get justice for him.”
Soleiman was 30 years old and lived with schizophrenia.
In 2016, he was being held at a Lindsay, Ont. correctional facility, while awaiting a transfer to a mental health facility. He died in a segregation cell in an altercation with guards.
For years, the cause of death was listed as “unascertained.”
In a letter provided by Faqiri, Ontario’s Chief Forensic Pathologist Dr. Michael Pollanen wrote, “I have decided that I will review this case, based on the forthcoming factual brief, and provide an opinion on the cause of death.”
“It’s guarded optimism, because this is long overdue,” Faqiri said.
“My brother didn’t just roll over and die. There were 50 bruises on his body that the coroner said, both his legs and his hands were tied.”
One of Faqiri’s last memories of his brother was on a wintery night just a few months before his death.
“I was running late for work, trying to catch a bus,” he said.
“I didn’t have my toque. He stopped me and said ‘Yusuf wait, wait’ and I said ‘Soleiman, I have to go, leave me alone’ and he gives me his toque and gives me a kiss on my forehead,” Faqiri said, trembling.
“That’s the kind of person he was. He was sincere.”
The Faqiri family lawyer, Edward Marrocco, called it “unusual” for the chief pathologist to weigh in, but welcomed the review.
“The 2017 post-mortem report is based on certain outdated and even incorrect facts,” he told CTV News Toronto in an emailed statement.
“Reviews of post-mortem reports are not an unusual practice during complex death investigations,” said Stephanie Rea with the Office of the Chief Coroner.
Faqiri is calling on charges to be laid, accountability into Soleiman’s death and greater delicacy relating to mental health.