In the days leading up to Soleiman Faqiri’s death, Coroner’s inquest continues for mentally ill man and his family tried to visit him four times, making the hour-long drive to the Ontario jail where he was being kept.
But they were always turned away. Now, more than a year later, a coroner’s inquest is underway to examine what happened in the hours before Faqiri’s death.
Coroner’s Inquest Continues for Mentally ill Man
Yusuf Faqiri said he and another sibling drove once to Lindsay’s Central East Correctional Centre, while their parents visited three times.
However each time, including the day before Soleiman Faqiri died on December 14, 2016, they were informed they couldn’t visit him because he was too ill, according to a coroner’s inquiry into his death.
“We didn’t know, we had no idea – no idea – what was going on inside,” Yusuf Faqiri said in an interview. “You’re looking at a family that was very proactive, that was hoping to give him the best treatment… and in the end, what happened?”
“What more can a family do?” he said. “It’s not like my family forgot about Solei. That is the difficult part.”
Soleiman Faqiri, 30, has a history of schizoaffective illness, which combines elements of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, which he was diagnosed with following a vehicle accident when he was 19, according to the inquest.
He was imprisoned in the facility after being charged with aggravated assault, assault, and threatening death in an event that occurred when he was having a mental-health crisis. He died in his cell less than two weeks later.
The coroner’s inquest began this week and is anticipated to last 15 days, ending shortly before the seventh anniversary of Faqiri’s death. On Tuesday, jurors are set to hear proof from Howard Sapers, a former Canadian correctional inspector, and another witness who will discuss her lived experience in jail.
On Monday, the inquest heard an agreed statement of facts outlining some of the significant events leading up to Faqiri’s death.
The inquest heard that at the time, Faqiri saw the institution’s physician and was sent to a psychiatrist, but he never saw a psychiatrist and did not take all of the medication he was prescribed. It was also learned that the doctor decided not to admit Faqiri to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation or as an emergency patient.
His condition deteriorated, and his behaviour became increasingly worrying, according to the inquiry. He was smearing faeces all over himself at one point.
According to the statement, his brother and a nurse testified in court in support of an order for him to undergo an assessment to evaluate his competence to stand trial. A video evaluation was planned, but Faqiri was deemed too ill to attend, according to the report.
Faqiri was transported to a new cell and led to a secure shower on the day he died, according to the inquiry. According to the statement, as he was being carried from the shower to his cell, shackled and in his underwear, he spat at the sergeant who was holding his shackles.
According to the statement, the sergeant responded by smacking Faqiri, who then hunched in a ball. He was subsequently subjected to “various incidents of use of force” as officers pushed him to his cell, including being struck in the head region, sprayed in the face with pepper spray foam, and pinned face down on the ground, according to the report.
His legs were cuffed at some time, and officers placed a spit hood on him to prevent him from spitting, according to the statement.
When officers removed the spit hood, he was discovered to be unresponsive, according to the statement. According to Yusuf Faqiri, his family has long campaigned for an inquest, but the testimony is tough to hear and witness.
“We adored him,” he explained. “This fight is for Solei but it’s for so many other Canadians … because I truly in my heart don’t want another mother or brother to go through what we went through.”