There was a major development earlier this week in the case of a prison death chronicled in the TVO.org podcast Unascertained.
On Tuesday, Michael Pollanen, Ontario’s chief forensic pathologist, announced he had concluded that Soleiman Faqiri’s death in 2016 at the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay was the result of actions taken by correctional officers.
Pollanen’s conclusion contradicts a 2017 coroner’s report, which found that the cause of Faqiri’s death was “unascertained.”
In Episode 6 of Unascertained, Chief Forensic Pathologist Michael Pollanen was questioned about new information in Faqiri’s case by podcast host Yusuf Zine.
Faqiri, who suffered from schizophrenia, was left in his cell after having been pepper-sprayed, shackled, and fitted with a spit hood. There were more than 50 signs of blunt-impact trauma on his body.
“It's a mixed day of emotions,” said Soleiman’s brother, Yusuf, in response to Pollanen’s announcement. “It's bittersweet. Every time when there's an update with respect to Soli’s story, we relive the trauma. But at the same time, there's a level of hope, just some semblance of it, that there will be justice for my late brother.”
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Faqiri’s case will now be referred to the Ontario Provincial Police — the third time it’s been asked to investigate his death.
“The OPP, specifically, we call on you to do your job,” Yusuf says. “Stop trying to make this case go away; we'll bring back this case for a fourth and a fifth time if you continue to ignore what happened here. … They need to prove to us that the system doesn't protect correctional officers. When they break the law, prove to us that there's the same standard for all Canadians.”
Listen to Unascertained to find out more about the death of Soleiman Faqiri and his family’s years-long quest for answers.