Family demands apology from Ford government for beating death of Soleiman Faqiri

 The family of a mentally ill man who died in an Ontario jail after he was beaten by guards is calling for a public apology from the Ford government. Relatives of Soleiman Faqiri held a news conference at Queen’s Park Thursday morning to draw attention to systemic issues in the correctional system. “My family deserves [[{“value”:”

The family of a mentally ill man who died in an Ontario jail after he was beaten by guards is calling for a public apology from the Ford government.

Relatives of Soleiman Faqiri held a news conference at Queen’s Park Thursday morning to draw attention to systemic issues in the correctional system.

“My family deserves a public apology from Premier Doug Ford and the government for the beating death of Soleiman Faqiri,” said Yusuf Faqiri, Soleiman’s brother.

“My family deserves this apology because this isn’t just about Soleiman Faqiri, this is about a man who suffered from mental illness that it could be anyone of us. We deserve that public apology and that public apology needs to be given by this premier and this government.”

Last December a coroner’s inquest ruled Faqiri’s death a homicide and issued a total of 57 recommendations focusing on the delivery of health care – particularly mental-health services – in corrections, training for correctional staff and management, and use-of-force practices, among other issues.

Recommendations issued in a coroner’s inquest are not binding and the finding of homicide carries no legal liability.

But Faqiri’s brother says the province has not fulfilled any of the recommendations – including what he calls the “easiest one,” a call for a statement recognizing jails are not an appropriate environment for people with significant mental health issues, which came with a 60-day deadline.

“Imagine ladies and gentlemen having no accountability. Imagine if you’re loved one’s voice and his death have never been acknowledged by the very institution and government that is responsible for his death,” said Faqiri. “The premier claims to care for ordinary Ontarians, yet he does not even acknowledge your loved one’s death. How many tragic deaths and inquests do we need until governments do their duty to protect our most vulnerable and transform the correctional system.”

A spokesperson for the Solicitor General did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Faqiri, who was 30, was arrested in early December 2016 after allegedly stabbing a neighbour while experiencing a mental health crisis.

The inquest heard that Faqiri, who had schizophrenia, appeared increasingly unwell during his time at the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, but did not see a psychiatrist, nor was he taken to the hospital.

He died on Dec. 15, 2016, after a violent struggle with correctional officers that broke out as they were escorting him from the shower to his segregation cell.

Coroner’s counsel urged jurors to rule his death a homicide while lawyers for the union wanted his death to be ruled accidental.

Files from The Canadian Press were used in this report

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