Transcript: The Cruel and Usual | Apr 07, 2021

ANNOUNCER: You're listening
to a TVO podcast.
WOMAN: The following podcast
contains course language,
descriptions of violence, and
sensitive themes
which may not be suitable for
younger audiences.
Listener discretion is advised.
YUSUF: Previously on
Unascertained...
MAN: Ontario guards killed my
brother in a violent beating.
REPORTER: Faqiri, who had a
history of schizophrenia,
had spent 11 days in the cell.
MAN: No, no, that is so
barbaric.
SECOND MAN: I can remember
clearly seeing him laying there
and just bruises, and
lacerations.
BROTHER: The only thing they
said to my dad
is that Soleiman died after an
incident with the guards.
That's literally the only
information we have.
MAN: The police know enough now
to lay a charge
and it is baffling us why they
continue to delay.
REPORTER: And while a coroner's
report found dozens of bruises
on Soleiman's body,
the cause of death
is listed as "unascertained."
(Phone vibrating)
YUSUF:
Hello?
WOMAN ON PHONE:
Hi, Mr. Zine?
YUSUF:
Yes.
WOMAN: So I have Anthony
Ouellette with me
for the interview this morning.
YUSUF:
Perfect. That's great.
WOMAN: I'm just going to
pass this over to him
and then leave the room.
YUSUF:
Before Soleiman Faqiri
died at the Central East
Correctional Centre in Lindsay,
Ontario,
he spent ten days in solitary
confinement.
On the 11th day,
a struggle with guards
resulted in his death.
For someone with diagnosed
schizophrenia,
I found it odd that Soleiman
would be placed
in solitary confinement.
ANTHONY:
How's it going?
YUSUF: Good, how are you?
ANTHONY:
I've had better days,
but I can't complain,
really, right?
YUSUF: Yeah, well, I'm glad we
were able to make this happen.
We've been trying to arrange
this...
I found Anthony Oullette's name
in a few police emails.
He'd given a statement about
Soli's time in segregation.
We got a hold of Anthony.
He was in the middle
of serving a sentence at a
federal penitentiary.
Since he's no longer in
the Lindsay jail,
he was more than willing
to speak with us.
In 2016, Anthony was serving
a seven year sentence
for robbery at the
Lindsay jail.
He was placed in
segregation unit two
during his recovery
from surgery.
That's where he met Soleiman.
ANTHONY: I'm gonna do everything
I can to make sure
that these officers pay
for what they did.
A lot of inmates are scared to
stand up for themselves.
Like, how was I-- how was I to
know that this very same thing
wasn't going to happen to me?
You don't know. It happens more
often than not.
Inmates are beat by guards,
almost sometimes beat to death.
I'm not protected,
I'm not with my family,
I'm not amongst loved ones
or people that care about me.
I'm in their house. They can do
whatever they want to me.
It really hurt me, seeing what
happened to this poor individual
that we're about to speak about.
And how nobody wanted to stand
up for him, and how...
Honestly, I'm getting shivers
right now
with what I'm about to tell you.
YUSUF:
I'm Yusuf Zine,
and this is
Unascertained.
Commonly known as the Lindsay
Super Jail,
this facility is located in the
town of Lindsay, Ontario.
It was constructed in 2001,
has both medium
and maximum security sections,
and can hold up to 1,184
prisoners.
And in 2016, an Ontario
Ombudsman spokesperson
confirmed it was the most
complained about
correctional facility.
That year,
there were 647 complaints
about access to medical care,
assault, and lockdowns.
And in February of 2018,
correctional officers
at the jail even
walked off the job,
citing unsafe work conditions.
On December 6th, 2016, a judge
adjourned Soleiman's case
for three more days, so that he
could get some medication.
He was then moved
to segregation unit two,
or 2-seg, due to safety
concerns for him and others.
This is where he would spend
his last 11 days alive.
2-seg is a little different
than standard segregation.
Inmates are not necessarily
isolated from other inmates
and can participate in social
interaction.
Anthony Ouellette told us,
for him,
he was able to volunteer as a
cleaner and deliver mail.
And during that time,
he started observing Soleiman.
ANTHONY: Uh, when I first met
him, he came on our range,
he was put into the cell,
he was very, very quiet,
very timid, and it seemed like
he just wanted to be by himself.
Well, by four in the morning,
that same day he got there,
he was just going off
the handle.
Like, he was freaking right out,
and no one knew what was going
on with him,
and his hands must have
been swollen,
'cause he's pound on the door
with his hands
for ten hours straight,
and it didn't stop.
It just carried on and on,
he'd be screaming.
He was chanting the words
"Oh Canada" over and over
and over again,
through all hours of the night
for about three days.
Anthony explained that during
his time at the Lindsay jail,
he got to know some
of the staff.
ANTHONY: I talked with the guard
that brought Soleiman
from admittance and discharge,
when you first get into
the facility, to the range,
and he said,
"Anthony, he was perfectly
normal,
"speaking perfect English,
'yes, sir,'"
even laughing with him,
and he doesn't know
what happened to him.
And that's how we all started to
realize, that, you know,
Mr. Faqiri was sick, and he
wasn't okay.
YUSUF: At what point did you
know or realize
that he had a mental illness,
or that he had schizophrenia?
ANTHONY: Just because of how
long I'd been in prison,
in and out my whole life,
there's lots of convicts
that come in and out of jail
that suffer
from so many mental illnesses,
so you see it,
and I could tell because he'll
be talking to himself,
he'll be screaming,
pointing and talking
like somebody is there with him
but nobody is there.
You know, just carrying on in a
way where you knew
that he wasn't well.
Over the next three days Soli's
mental health deteriorated.
He refused medication, stopped
speaking English,
and rarely kept his clothes on.
ANTHONY:
I can tell you,
he was deathly afraid
of the officers.
YUSUF: Were there any
interactions
with correctional officers that
stuck out to you?
ANTHONY:
Oh man, where do I start?
They were making fun of him
non-stop. Bugging him.
They thought it was a joke.
The guards would do rounds and
boot his door to startle him.
He'd be-- he'd be quiet, he'd
quiet down for five minutes,
staring out the window,
and they'd boot his door
to make him jump, to startle
him, and laugh at him.
Or two female officers would be
walking together,
they'd stop at his door,
and they'd be laughing.
And I'd hear it, clear as day,
because I guess they saw
his private area, and said,
"Oh, look,
"it looks like a fur coat
with a button."
Laughing at him. I'm like,
"That's not right, man.
"I don't know how you officers
think that's funny.
"It's inhumane.
"You guys are treating this guy
like a monster,
"like he's locked up like a
fucking dog in a cage.
"Like, he doesn't deserve
this treatment."
And they'd say,
"Oh, mind your business.
"Mind your business
or you're next."
YUSUF:
Anthony, who is Muslim,
tried to help Soli calm down.
ANTHONY: I went to his window,
and I'm like,
"Salaam-Alaikum, brother,"
I'm like, "Do you need anything?
Are you okay?"
And he says, "No, no, no.
Help, help, help!"
And I said, "Are you hungry"
He goes, "Yes, yes,
I want food."
So I slid him canteen
under the door,
and he's standing there, eating
the canteen right in front of us
and he was calm, he was okay.
Everything was fine.
And then I'm like, "Brother, do
you want to pray?"
And I called my other Muslim
brother over
and we started praying with him,
and for that couple of minutes
we were at his door,
he was quiet as a mouse.
His eyes were closed.
He was like, breathing deeply,
he was somewhere else.
Like, he wasn't irate,
he was not flipping out,
he had this calmness over him.
And then it's almost like,
as soon as we left,
he felt unsafe again. He just
started flipping out again.
YUSUF: It sounds like also
you kinda went out of your way
to make sure Soleiman was
taken care of.
How often did you find yourself
having to do that?
ANTHONY:
Every day.
YUSUF:
Every day?
ANTHONY:
Every day.
YUSUF:
Anthony wasn't the only
one who tried to help.
The Faqiri family attempted to
visit Soleiman four times
but they never actually
got to visit him.
They were always turned away.
ANTHONY: I found out that Mr.
Soleiman Faqiri's family
came that week to visit him,
and how I know there's proof
of that is because
I was handing out mail,
and their were money receipts
that I had, and I delivered them
to Soleiman from his family,
for canteen money.
So we know that his family
came to visit him,
and during that week
all this happened,
we were not locked down at all.
There was one day we were locked
down out of all those days.
We wanted to ask the Lindsay
Jail about Soleiman's family
being turned away
from visitation four times,
but in order to do that, we had
to go through the ministry
and they declined to comment.
These next details
are tough to process.
ANTHONY: Okay, well...
(Sighing)
If you're an officer and you go
to an individual cell
and you see that they're using
the washroom
and picking up their feces
out of the toilet,
and throwing it
against the walls,
and covering their own body
in feces,
wouldn't you know that they're
not okay, that they're sick?
Like, you need to get them
to a doctor.
YUSUF: Is that something you
witnessed personally?
ANTHONY: I witnessed that
with my own eyes.
YUSUF: What was the reaction
by the guards?
Did they help him to get clean?
ANTHONY:
They were laughing at him.
No guard would open his door
because he was covered in feces,
they didn't want
to deal with him.
Anthony said he often saw water
leaking out of Soleiman's cell.
ANTHONY: For some reason,
I don't know why, if he did it
or if his toilet was
just broken,
but his toilet was flooded.
In a statement found in the
Kawartha Lakes police report,
a witness said the cleaner was
sick of mopping up water
in the hallway, and decided to
plug Soleiman's door
from the bottom.
ANTHONY: When he stripped down
off all his clothes,
and I looked in his cell,
he had six inches of water
on his floor.
His mattress was floating
in the water.
He had no bedding, no clothes.
Like, everything was
soaking wet.
For days and days and days.
And then one day,
the water stopped leaking.
ANTHONY:
They shut his water off,
because the water kept flooding
out onto the range
and the guards didn't want
to walk through it.
So he didn't have any running
water, not even to drink.
YUSUF: So they turned his water
off completely?
ANTHONY:
Yeah.
Things only got worse
from there.
Anthony saw that Soleiman was
not eating food,
and a witness statement said
that he started
drinking from the toilet.
ANTHONY: Okay,
that's another thing, too.
You see how he had the water in
his cell and what not.
YUSUF: Mm-hm.
ANTHONY: Officers would open his
hatch, make him stand
at the back of his cell,
put the Styrofoam meal in,
and drop the fucking meal tray,
pardon my language,
in his cell, and slam the hatch
shut. And we even said,
"Officer, you know there's
six inches of water
"and there's feces
all over his cell?"
Like, what's wrong with you? Why
are you not feeding this man?
Why aren't you guys showering
him or taking him to a hospital?
This shit that I was seeing was
some stuff you only see on TV.
I've never seen any of this
stuff ever happen in prison.
On December 9th, Soli missed
his court appearance.
According to a court
transcript,
a correctional officer said
that he was, quote "in crisis."
As a result, his matter was
pushed back three more days.
During that time,
Anthony desperately tried
to get Soli help, by appealing
to correctional officers,
doctors, and nurses.
ANTHONY: Oh, the guards would
always tell me, you know,
"Shut the eff up,"
or "Mind your business,"
or "It's not your problem,
we'll deal with it."
"We're the guards,
you're the inmate,
"you do your time,
let him do his."
Soli's care remained in the
hands of the jail staff.
ANTHONY: But also I will tell
you, just to keep it real
with you and the public,
not every officer is the same.
There are many officers in here
that do a very damn good job
to bend over backwards to make
sure we have everything we need.
They go against the other
officers.
You know, they're the heroes
in my eyes, man.
There were many officers that
tried to help solve it.
There was a good bunch of us
that finally started
basically flipping right out,
and two of us
refused to lock into our cell
until we saw a sergeant.
The sergeant ended up
coming to see us.
Honestly, I've done a lot of
time and I'm always against
officers for the way they
treat us, but, uh,
this officer is a very kind,
genuine, normal,
good-hearted, hard-working man,
because as soon as he saw the
state that Soleiman was in,
he started freaking right out,
swearing at his officers,
"What the bleep
is wrong with you?
"Bleep bleep bleep bleep!
"Go get him clean bedding,
clean towels, clean clothes,
"bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep!"
"Get the door open,
let's get this man a shower."
He was-- he was so angry,
he was like,
"Mr. Faqiri, are you okay?"
He's yelling and screaming,
"No, no, no, no. Help, help."
Finally he got him calmed down,
'cause I guess
he just kept talking
softly to him,
so finally he got him right to
the door and said,
"Soleiman, are you okay?
I'm here to help you.
"What do you want?
Do you want shower?"
And he's like, "Yes, yes,
shower, shower, shower."
They got the door open,
they got him into the shower.
Soleiman was in such
a bad state,
he couldn't even find the shower
button to turn the water on.
He couldn't function.
So the sergeant got into the
shower himself,
and put soap on his rubber
gloves and was scrubbing
this man, scrubbing his hair,
helping him get clean
'cause he couldn't even
wash himself.
(Water running)
YUSUF: Had you ever seen
that before?
A corrections officer, uh,
going to that extent
to make sure they're cleaned
and safe?
ANTHONY: Not in 20 years
of being in and out of prison.
Like, I was so happy that
now I'm like,
"Okay, he's getting taken
care of,"
like, he's safe now. Um...
And then I come back out
after lunch lockup,
he's got all his clothes
ripped off,
and we're going through this
all over again.
On December 12th, Soli appeared
in court via video link.
His brother, Yusuf Faqiri and a
nurse from the Lindsay Jail
attended in person.
Yusuf explained his brother's
mental health history
and made a passionate appeal to
have him sent to a hospital.
The nurse also explained what
Soli's mental health state
had been like
for the last few days.
The judge acknowledged
Soleiman's mental health
had deteriorated, and ordered
him to be transferred
to Ontario Shores Mental Health
Hospital in Whitby.
The nurse said she was more
than willing to arrange it.
But three more days went by and
Soleiman was never transferred
to Ontario Shores, and Anthony
was forced to continue
to watch Soli descend into
an even worse state.
ANTHONY: The one time,
and it broke my heart
to see him like this,
I went to the shower,
and I looked in his cell,
and I'm like, "Brother,
"do you want clean clothes?
Do you want to put clothes on?"
And now he's not
answering me, period.
He's just looking with a blank
stare, like, right through me.
December 15th. Soleiman was
about to be transferred
to segregation unit 8,
or 8-seg.
The ministry told us that
8-seg, now renamed
to "8-stabilization"
is the unit used to evaluate,
assess, and stabilize male
inmates with medical,
physical, mental health,
and behavioural concerns.
It's meant to be
a short-term stay.
For Soleiman,
it was extremely short.
ANTHONY:
I remember in the morning,
he got wheeled off from our
range in a wheelchair,
he was completely naked, and the
guards just threw a sheet
over him, like he was a ghost,
and wheeled him out
because he was covered in feces,
and as well,
I guess they didn't want the
other inmates
to see him walking--
other females or whatever,
to see him walk around naked.
That morning, Anthony got the
attention of a staff member
and tried one last time
to get Soli help.
ANTHONY: I was yelling for him,
and he stuck his head over
to see me, I'm like, "Send this
guy over to a hospital!"
I'm like, "He shouldn't even
be in jail."
And, uh, he looks me
dead in my face and says,
"I call the shots around here."
And then he walked out.
(Sounds of door opening,
men shouting)
And that's the last time
I ever saw him.
When I got back from court,
I'd seen one female officer
crying
and I asked what happened--
she herself said,
"Yeah, sadly, we don't know how,
"but Soleiman passed away."
And like, that's when it stabbed
me in my heart, that, like,
"Oh my God, Soleiman is gone."
We reached out to the ministry
for a statement
on everything Ouellette
told us,
but they declined to comment.
We also looked for statements
from correctional officers
in the police report.
Based on the records, we know
the police did interview
the correctional officers
involved in Soleiman's
restraint on December 15th,
but it's unclear
whether the ones from seg-2
were interviewed at all,
and there are actually quite
a number of statements
in the police report from other
inmates and paramedics.
But no statements from any
correctional officers
were included in the Faqiri
family's copy of the report.
I just couldn't understand how
these things could happen
in a government-run
institution.
How does this stuff just get
swept under the rug,
and where is the oversight?
(Phone line ringing)
HOWARD: Good afternoon,
Howard Sapers.
YUSUF: Hi, Howard,
this is Yusuf Zine calling.
HOWARD: Hello, Yusuf.
How are you?
YUSUF: Good, how are you?
HOWARD: I'm well.
YUSUF:
Between 2004 and 2016,
Howard Sapers
was Canada's correctional
investigator and watchdog.
His job was to report
to parliament
on what was happening inside
Canada's jails.
In 2017, he left that job to do
an independent review
of the Ontario prison system.
HOWARD: In fact the reason why
I took on the assignment
is because I was assured that
the government was serious
about wanting to transform
corrections in Ontario.
YUSUF: Did you ever visit
correctional facilities
in person, speaking to inmates
or correctional officers
on site?
(Howard chuckling)
HOWARD:
With some frequency.
I can't even count the number of
jails and prisons I've been into
in Canada and in other places
around the world.
YUSUF: Was there anything
you can tell us about
the Central East
Correctional Centre?
HOWARD: In my visits there,
I can tell you that, um,
there were a couple of things
that struck me.
One was the use of, I don't know
how else to describe them
other than "cages," areas that
actually looked like large cages
were constructed, and these were
to be used for out-of-cell time
for people that were otherwise
in segregation,
or in some kind of restricted...
He's not exaggerating.
Picture a very large dog kennel
and that's what Howard saw
on his tour of the
Lindsay Jail.
Some are used for professional
visits with a lawyer
or social worker, and others
are for group programming.
We don't know if Soleiman
ever found his way
into one of these, but his
regular size segregation cell
wasn't much bigger.
HOWARD: The argument was that
this was better than
leaving people locked in their
cell for 23 hours a day.
I don't really buy that
argument.
I think that there's lots of
alternatives that don't
require taking people out
of a small cell
and put them into a larger cage,
and considering that
to be progress.
Out of 12,000 people placed
in segregation
between July 2018
and June 2019 alone,
46% had mental health alerts
on file.
And in 2020, that number was
approximately 32%.
But not just for segregation.
For all inmates
in Ontario jails.
How does someone like
Soleiman Faqiri,
who has diagnosed schizophrenia
that the facility is aware of,
end up in solitary confinement?
HOWARD: Well, you're supposed
to be in segregation
for enumerated purposes,
so that could be to provide
safety to an individual,
and it could be
to provide security
for the institution.
Unfortunately, what I found in
my work on segregation
in Ontario is all too often,
people were being held
in segregation because they
would be either difficult
to manage in a general
population range,
or they would be vulnerable in
a general population range.
This meant that many people with
known and diagnosed
mental health issues were being
held in segregation.
YUSUF:
Is it legal to do that?
HOWARD: That's a very--
that should be a simple question
but it's not,
it's a complex question.
YUSUF:
Here is why.
Back in 2012, a former inmate
named Christina Jahn
filed a human rights complaint
against Ontario's Ministry
of Community Safety
and Correctional Services.
She had spent over 200 days
in segregation
in an Ottawa prison.
During that time,
she said she was beaten,
deprived of basic hygiene
privileges,
and denied access to cancer
medication.
She also struggled with
a mental illness,
had family visits canceled,
and her water turned off.
A year later, a settlement was
reached with the province.
This resulted in
ten recommendations
on how to reform Ontario's
correctional system,
which the provincial government
committed to putting in place.
One of the main recommendations
was to forbid
segregation for any individuals
with a mental illness,
unless it was a last resort.
But in 2016, a story
was released that confirmed
the Ontario government had
broken its own commitments.
HOWARD: There was a critical
incident that I think
really captured everybody's
attention,
and it was the continuous
segregation for over 1,500 days
of a young Indigenous man
from the Thunder Bay area.
REPORTER: The young man's name
is Adam Capay.
He's a 24-year-old Aboriginal of
the Lac Seul First Nation.
He had not been sentenced
for a crime,
and he had been locked up in
solitary confinement
for four years.
HOWARD: When that case
became public,
everybody from the Premier's
office down
made public comments about how
that was unacceptable
in Ontario, and something would
be done about it.
Following that, they asked me if
I would do the review,
and first look at the use
of segregation.
From there, the Independent
Review of Ontario Corrections
was formed.
WOMAN: By January,
a few months-- I mean,
barely two months later,
a small team had been assembled.
And it really was a very intense
and very fast rush to put out
that first report.
That's Abby Deshman.
She's the director of
the Criminal Justice Program
at the Canadian Civil Liberties
Association.
She also worked with Howard
Sapers as an advisor
on the independent review to
conduct a report
on Ontario Corrections.
ABBY: Trying to figure out
what is happening
in correctional institutions
from the outside,
it's like banging your head
against a brick wall.
You have very little contact,
usually, with people
who are on the inside, be it
inmates, prisoners, or guards.
So to-- for the first time
in my life,
be able to ask questions
and demand answers
from the government,
and actually get stats
about, you know,
who was behind bars,
how much time they were
spending in their cells,
how much time they're spending
in solitary confinement,
what are the policies like.
Abby found looking behind the
curtain of Ontario jails
to be extremely fascinating.
ABBY: It was also profoundly
disturbing,
because, you know,
the findings of the report
were that solitary confinement
is routinely used
as the behaviour management tool
for people who are suicidal,
who are mentally ill,
who are exhibiting any behaviour
that had a basis in
mental illness.
If they couldn't handle it in
the general population setting,
that person would really just be
going to segregation,
and there was inadequate
medical care,
and really a lot of incredibly
profound harm
being done to people.
YUSUF:
Solitary confinement for
those with mental disabilities
is actually prohibited under
international law.
Even if domestic law allows it,
anything over 15 days
is considered by the United
Nation as a form
of psychological torture.
And in 2019, an Ontario judge
ruled that it amounts
to cruel and unusual
punishment.
Howard, Abby, and the
independent review team
produced three reports
and made 162 recommendations
on how to reform Ontario
Corrections,
particularly segregation.
HOWARD: And after each report
was presented,
the government said that action
would be taken
on all the recommendations, and
the ultimate expression of that
was the creation of a brand new
Corrections Act
for the province of Ontario.
ABBY: But again, we never saw a
detailed implementation plan
to address those
recommendations.
We heard that the government was
committed to addressing them
but never found out exactly how
they were going to do that.
A little civics lesson 101,
in order for anything
to become law in Ontario,
it has to go through three
readings in the Ontario
Legislature,
receive Royal Assent,
and be proclaimed into force.
HOWARD: And that act actually
received Royal Assent,
it was passed by the Ontario
Legislature,
but the current government has
never proclaimed it into force.
After all the reports and
recommendations
were put forward by the
independent review,
the result was a new
Corrections Act
that would reform segregation.
But after a change in
government,
and as of recording this
podcast,
it has not been proclaimed
into force.
That means it's still legal
in Ontario for inmates
with mental illnesses to be
held in solitary confinement.
Some people are calling for
solitary confinement
to be banned entirely.
Do you think it should be
abolished completely
or reformed?
HOWARD: Well, here's the thing
about abolishing segregation,
often it's in name only.
In fact, critics of the federal
move to eliminate
administrative segregation
and create these
structured intervention units,
um, these critics claim
that this is just old wine
in new bottles.
That this is just segregation
by another name.
The reality is that
any correctional facility,
the system will find a way
to isolate individuals
who are problematic
for a variety of reasons.
So whether we call it
segregation
or supervised intervention or
whatever we call it,
there has to be external
independent oversight
of the use
of this kind of custody,
because it can be such
a dangerous form of custody.
We asked the ministry to
comment on segregation cells
being used
for mental health beds.
The responded by telling us
about a $500 million investment
by the Ontario government to
transform and modernize
corrections over the next
five years.
But that still didn't answer
the question as to why
inmates with mental illnesses
are put in those cells
in the first place.
Everything Howard and Abby
told me made me think
if the Ontario government had
taken these reforms
more seriously
and made changes sooner,
inmates like Soleiman might
still be alive today.
ABBY: One of the things
when I read about
what Soleiman Faqiri
experienced,
the fact that other inmates,
other prisoners
were trying to get help for him,
were calling on staff
to do something,
all of those things,
um, just rang true to me
in terms of what people's
experiences are.
I don't know, I just found it
deeply disturbing.
YUSUF: So that doesn't surprise
you when you read that stuff?
ABBY:
No.
HOWARD: It breaks my heart,
frankly.
Um, it's an extremely
troubling case.
The loss of life is tragic,
the grief of the family members
is tragic,
and-- and the challenges
around accountability
and clarity,
about just what happened,
and why, is so discouraging.
So these are the kinds
of incidents that reinforce
just how easy it is
for things to go tragically
and fatally wrong if we don't
do corrections right.
After Soleiman's death,
news spread around the jail
and made its way
to Anthony Ouellette.
ANTHONY: And I just...
it brought tears to my eyes.
Like, it brings tears to my eyes
right now to talk about it
because, like, it's just...
I'll never forget the feeling
that I had that day,
when I was told
what happened to him.
Very quickly, rumours started
circulating amongst inmates
about how Soleiman died.
ANTHONY: My cell partner was
like, "The guards killed him."
And I'm like, "What do you mean
the guards killed him?"
And he's like,
"The guards all jumped on him,
"suffocated him,
he couldn't breathe,
"he started throwing up
and having a panic attack,
"and they were just--
they were beating him up
"and smothering him, like, they
were all piled on top of him,
"and he died."
Carved into the big steel door,
I saw "RIP Soleiman Faqiri."
Written on the bottom
of the bunk bed,
"RIP Soleiman Faqiri."
Anthony was one of the few
people who observed Soleiman
for those ten days.
While the police report says
that Soleiman
was being "assaultive,"
for Anthony,
that didn't make sense.
ANTHONY: He was not a bad guy,
and one thing I'll tell you,
I can bet my life on it,
he would not attack them.
So if any officer is saying that
he was lunging towards them
or attacking them or...
that's bullshit,
because every time I'd seen them
open this guy's door,
he does not want them to
even touch him.
He's scared, he's terrified.
This is an individual that did
not need to be in prison.
He needed to be in a hospital.
I've seen what he looked like
the day he arrived on my range.
That individual came into
this facility
without one single mark
on his body.
And you're telling me he had
all these bruises
all over his neck and his chest,
his legs, he had cuts
on his shins?
Like, where does this
all come from?
It seemed like there were two
versions of events.
The police report called it
a "physical altercation,"
and inmates called it
a beating.
So which is true?
A ten month long investigation
by Kawartha Lakes Police
was conducted after
Soli's death,
and besides Anthony's
testimony,
there were other troubling
aspects of the case.
A paramedic who couldn't get
a straight story.
Jail staff who were
quietly fired.
And contradicting accounts of
just what happened
inside that cell.
(Phone beeping)
DISPATCHER: Ambulance.
What is your emergency?
WOMAN:
Hi, I'm a nurse
at Central East
Correctional Centre.
DISPATCHER: Okay, I just need to
confirm your address.
YUSUF:
Next time on Unascertained.
MAN: No, he has no medical
history. He's got a history of--
WOMAN: Except for
schizophrenia.
MAN:
Yes, schizophrenia.
SECOND MAN: The superintendent
there started getting antsy,
and almost having attitude with
me a little bit,
'cause I was asking
all these questions.
YUSUF FAQIRI:
They won't tell me anything,
all I know is I'm being
stonewalled,
and when you get stonewalled,
it makes you very suspicious.
YUSUF ZINE: Unascertained
is
written and produced by me,
Yusuf Zine, and Kevin Young.
Kevin Young is also our
audio engineer.
Our story editor
is Michelle Shephard.
Our intern is Celina Gallardo.
Our legal counsel is
Willa Marcus.
Katie O'Connor is our producer
for TVO podcasts.
The executive producer of
digital for TVO is Laurie Few.
The executive for current
affairs and documentaries
for TVO is John Ferri.
Theme song and music by
Blue Dot Sessions.
Unascertained
is produced by
Innerspeak and TVO.

Watch: The Cruel and Usual