No Charges in Soleiman Faqiri’s Jail Death, OPP Says

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) will not bring criminal charges against correctional officers involved in the death of a man in a provincial jail, despite a report from the province’s chief medical examiner finding that the actions of the officers resulted in his death.

Soleiman Faqiri was living with schizophrenia and died during a struggle with prison guards at the Central East Correctional Institution in Lindsay, Ontario on December 11, 2016. In the days leading up to his death, he was waiting to be transferred to a medical center. ease.

“Why are people with mental illness treated with such indignity? Why are people with mental illness delivered to their families in body bags? Faqiri’s older brother, Yusuf, told CTV News.

In an email obtained by CTV News, the Ontario Provincial Police wrote that there was “insufficient evidence to form the grounds required to believe that a criminal offense has been committed.”

This most recent investigation was spurred by an August 2021 report from Dr. Michael Pollanen, Ontario’s Chief Medical Examiner. In his report, Pollanen said Faqiri’s death was due to “a prone position and musculocutaneous injuries sustained during the struggle, exertion, and exposure to pepper spray.”

The 30-year-old had more than 50 blunt wounds and was chained and placed in a balaclava, according to the report. Pollanen also noted that Faqiri had “an enlarged heart and worsening schizophrenia”, which were exacerbated by the injuries he sustained.

The OPP’s insistence that there was “insufficient evidence” baffles Yusuf.

“If that’s not enough evidence, I don’t know what else is left to hold criminal responsibility for Soleiman Faqiri’s death. The OPP seems to think there should be a different standard and it’s a problem,” he said.

It is also the third time that police have refused to press charges in Faqiri’s death.

In October 2017, the City of Kawartha Lakes Police Department announced that “there are no grounds to bring criminal charges against anyone involved with Mr. Faqiri prior to his death.”

Four days after the police announcement, the original autopsy concluded that Faqiri’s death was “uncertain” – a conclusion the Pollanen report described as “puzzling”.

Two years later, the Ontario Provincial Police announced they would reopen the investigation into Faqiri’s death, but in August 2020 the OPP also said no charges would be filed in the incident.

“Why is it that when law enforcement commits these heinous acts against vulnerable Canadians and Ontarians, they are not held accountable?” said Yusuf. “I don’t know what else is left to hold criminal responsibility for Soleiman Faqiri’s death. The OPP seems to think there should be a different standard.”

Elder Faqiri says his family has lost faith in the justice system and believes his brother, who was in jail on multiple assault charges, should have been in a hospital, not a jail cell. He says the only reason his brother wasn’t in the hospital at the time was because he was waiting for a bed to become available.

“What makes the story so tragic is that the system is supposed to be in place to help individuals,” he said. “My brother deserves better, but Ontarians and Canadians deserve better. Prisons have become the new hospital.

In a statement, the Ontario Provincial Police said the pathology report was carefully reviewed by police and the Crown, but declined to comment further as a coroner’s inquest is scheduled.

Although no date has been set, the family hopes the coroner’s inquest will shed light on what happened.

“The fight for justice for Soleiman Faqiri is far from over. We remain resilient and we remain committed to bringing justice to Soleiman and the many other Canadians and Ontarians who are suffering within the justice system,” Yusuf said. “The coroner’s inquest will go a long way in showing more of what happened to Soleiman Faqiri and we will be ready.”