Transcript: Updating the Case of Soleiman Faqiri | Jun 11, 2021

Nam sits inside a room with gray walls and a bookcase in the background. She's in her early forties, with shoulder length straight brown hair. She's wearing glasses and a green blazer over a black shirt.

A caption on screen reads "Reinvestigating Soleiman Faqiri's death. Nam Kiwanuka, @namshine, @theagenda."

Nam says EARLIER THIS YEAR, WE LEARNED ABOUT THE TRAGIC DEATH OF A YOUNG MAN NAMED SOLEIMAN FAQIRI FROM THE TVO PODCAST "UNASCERTAINED." IT DETAILED THE STORY OF WHY HIS DEATH IN A PRISON IN ONTARIO LEFT MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS. AND NOW, THANKS IN PART TO THAT PODCAST, WE HAVE AN UPDATE TO THE STORY. WITH US ON THAT, FROM ONTARIO'S CAPITAL CITY, WE WELCOME: YUSUF FAQIRI, WHO IS THE BROTHER OF SOLEIMAN FAQIRI, AND FOUNDER OF THE JUSTICE FOR SOLI MOVEMENT...

Yusuf is in his twenties, with short black hair and a trimmed beard. He's wearing a white shirt.

Nam continues AND YUSUF ZINE, HOST OF THE TVO PODCAST "UNASCERTAINED," AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE PRODUCTION COMPANY, INNERSPEAK...

Yusuf Zine is in his twenties, with short black hair and a trimmed beard. He's wearing a mustard green sweater.

Nam continues WELCOME TO YOU BOTH.

Yusuf Faqiri says THANKS FOR HAVING US.

Nam says IT'S VERY NICE TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE. IT'S REALLY COOL THAT YOU'RE BOTH CALLED YUSUF. JUST TO AVOID THE CONFUSION FOR OUR LISTENERS, WHAT I THINK I'LL DO IS I WILL SAY YOUR LAST NAME AS WELL, AND YUSUF ZINE YOU SAID YOU WENT TO THE SAME SCHOOL?

Yusuf Zine says WE WENT TO THE SAME UNIVERSITY, WILFRID LAURIER.

Nam says AND YOUR NAMES ARE SPELLED EXACTLY THE SAME. SO WE HAVE AN UPDATE ON THIS, YUSUF FAQIRI. ONTARIO'S CHIEF FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST HAS AGREED TO REVIEW YOUR BROTHER'S DEATH. HOW COME?

The caption changes to "Yusuf Faqiri. Brother of Soleiman Faqiri."

Yusuf Faqiri says FIRST OF ALL, NAM, IT'S LONG OVERDUE. THE POST MORTEM OF 2014 IS FOUR YEARS OLD. IT DOESN'T INCLUDE THE CASE OF WANT EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT THAT THEY USED EXCESSIVE FORCE INTO SOLEIMAN'S DEATH. THIS WAS NOT INCLUDED IN THE POST MORTEM. MY FAMILY HAS BEEN FIGHTING FOR THE BETTER PART OF FOUR AND A HALF YEARS TO GET JUSTICE FOR SOLEIMAN. IT'S AN IMPORTANT START, NAM. IT'S AN IMPORTANT START. WE'RE GRATEFUL THAT THE CASE HAS BEEN TAKEN IN TERMS OF REVIEWING THE POST MORTEM. LET ME BE CLEAR. WE HAVE GUARDED OPTIMISM, THAT IS TO SAY GUARDED HOPE. WE'VE ALREADY BEEN FAILED BY COUNTLESS INSTITUTIONS INCLUDING TWO SUBSEQUENT POLICE INVESTIGATIONS THAT FRANKLY SHOCKED US AND LACKED INTEGRITY IN TERMS OF GETTING JUSTICE FOR MY LATE BROTHER. THE ONTARIO GOVERNMENT REFUSES TO EVEN ACKNOWLEDGE MY BROTHER'S DEATH. THAT'S WHERE GUARDED HOPE COMES FROM. BUT I HOPE THAT THEY GET IT RIGHT THIS TIME. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THAT AN INSTITUTION AND GOVERNMENT IS TAKING A SINCERE AND GENUINE LOOK INTO THE TRAGIC DEATH OF MY LATE BROTHER.

Nam says I'M REALLY SORRY FOR YOUR FAMILY'S LOSS. AS YOU SAID, IT'S BEEN ALMOST FIVE YEARS. AND WE APPRECIATE YOU BEING ON THE SHOW TO TALK A BIT ABOUT THIS. WHAT'S IT BEEN LIKE FOR PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR BROTHER IN THIS PODCAST?

Yusuf Faqiri says THEY'VE BEEN SHOCKED. I WANT TO GIVE CREDIT TO TVO, AND I GIVE SHOUTOUTS FOR THE INCREDIBLE WORKED. WE'VE BEEN SHOCKED TO SEE WHAT HAPPENED TO A YOUNG MAN WHO WAS VULNERABLE WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS AND THE WAY THAT HE WAS TREATED JUST HAS SHOWN HOW MUCH PROBLEMS EXIST WITHIN THE INCARCERATION SYSTEM FOR INDIVIDUALS SUFFERING FROM MENTAL ILLNESS. CANADIANS HAVE REACHED OUT TO MY FAMILY AND HAVE SAID, THIS IS HAPPENING IN CANADA. SOLEIMAN FAQIRI WHAT HE HAD ON HIS BODY, LEGS AND HANDS TIED, PEPPER SPRAYED TWICE. THESE THINGS THAT HAPPENED TO SOLI COULD HAVE HAPPENED TO ANOTHER FAMILY AND COULD HAVE HAPPENED... WILL HAPPEN TO SOMEONE ELSE IF WE DON'T PUT A STOP TO IT. AND THAT'S, NAM, THE CRUX OF OUR FIGHT. WE'RE FIGHTING SO THERE ISN'T ANOTHER SOLEIMAN. WE'RE FIGHTING SO ANOTHER MOTHER DOES NOT BURY THEIR CHILD THE WAY WE BURIED MY BELOVED BROTHER. THAT'S WHY PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO SOLI SO THERE ISN'T A TRAGEDY SUCH AS THIS.

Nam says I'M VERY SORRY. WHERE DO YOU FIND THE STRENGTH TO KEEP THE FIGHT GOING?

The caption changes to "Yusuf Faqiri. Justice for Soli Movement."

Yusuf Faqiri says SOLI AND I WERE 18 MONTHS APART. I WAS 18 MONTHS OLDER THAN HIM. HE WAS QUITE AN INSPIRATION TO ME. YOU KNOW, MENTAL ILLNESS, I'LL BE VERY CANDID, IS A VERY DEBILITATING ILLNESS. BUT SOLI, THROUGHOUT HIS LIFE, HE WAS AN INSPIRATION. HE FOUND A WAY TO LEARN LANGUAGES, HE FOUND A WAY TO STILL MAKE THE BEST WITH WHAT HE HAD. HE WAS MY INSPIRATION. I VISIT HIS GRAVE EVERY FRIDAY USUALLY AND I ALSO MAKE PROMISES TO SOLI, WE'RE FIGHTING FOR YOU. IT'S NOT JUST YOU. IT'S NOT JUST YOUR FAMILY. IT'S ONTARIANS AND CANADIANS. AND THE STRENGTH NOW ULTIMATELY COMES FROM THE HOPE AND THE FACT THAT THE TRAGEDY AND THE MAN HE WAS, GIFTED MIND THAT HE WAS, THAT WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE, THAT THAT COULD BE SOLI'S LEGACY. IT'S GONE. HE'S NOT COMING BACK. TO BE HONEST, WE MIGHT NEVER GET THE FULL JUSTICE WE DESERVE. BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY SOLEIMAN'S STORY SHOULD NOT BE IN VAIN. I DON'T WANT HIM TO BE ANOTHER STAT. BECAUSE MY BROTHER HAS A STORY TO TELL. HE WAS AN UNCLE. HE WAS A SON. AND MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE, HE WAS A HUMAN BEING THAT DESERVED BETTER. AND I DON'T WANT ONTARIANS TO GO THROUGH WHAT WE'RE GOING THROUGH.

Nam says THE MOST RECENT EPISODE OF "UNASCERTAINED" FEATURES AN INTERVIEW WITH THE CHIEF FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST. LET'S TAKE A LISTEN.

An audio clip plays, next to the poster for TVO's Unascertained podcast. A caption reads "Audio from the podcast Unascertained." The voice belongs to Michael Pollanen.

Michael says THERE'S A FAMOUS QUOTE IN THE FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST TEXTBOOKS, WHICH IS that JUST BECAUSE A PATHOLOGIST INDICATES THAT THE CAUSE OF DEATH IS UNASCERTAINED BY AUTOPSY DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE CAUSE OF DEATH IS UN UNASCERTAINABLE. IN OTHER WORDS, THE CAUSE OF DEATH MAY WELL BE UNASCERTAINABLE IF YOU ENLARGE THE SCOPE OF EVIDENCE.

The clip ends.

Nam says WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THAT CONVERSATION?

The caption changes to "Yusuf Zine. Host, 'Unascertained.'"

Yusuf Zine says IT WAS INTERESTING. FIRST OF ALL, I DIDN'T THINK THEY WOULD TAKE OUR REQUEST FOR AN INTERVIEW. THERE WERE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO WE REACHED OUT TO WHO DENIED TO GIVE A STATEMENT OR COMMENT. SO IT WAS INTERESTING WHEN, AS WE WERE WRAPPING UP THE PODCAST, THEY AGREED TO SPEAK TO US. WHEN WE FIRST TALKED TO DR. HYER, HE TOLD US HE WAS GETTING EMAILS ABOUT OUR PODCAST EVERY DAY. SO CLEARLY THEY WERE LISTENING AND THEY WERE READY TO TALK ABOUT WHAT WAS HAPPENING, WHAT THEY WERE HEARING. AND WHAT WAS INTERESTING... I THINK FOR ME THE BIGGEST THING THAT WAS INTERESTING THAT CAME OUT OF THE INTERVIEW, BECAUSE HE WOULDN'T COMMENT DIRECTLY ON THE CASE. AND I, DESPITE MY CONSTANT GRILLING AND SAYING, YOU KNOW, WE'VE BEEN INVESTIGATING THIS CASE FOR ALMOST TWO YEARS, THIS IS ALL THE EVIDENCE THAT WE FOUND THAT IS NOT IN THE POST MORTEM REPORT. WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY TO THAT? HOW CAN YOU NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THESE VERY CLEAR FACTS? AND WHILE HE WOULDN'T COMMENT DIRECTLY ON THE CASE, HE DID AGREE WITH ME IN SAYING THAT THE QUESTIONS YOU'RE ASKING ARE EXACTLY THE RIGHT QUESTIONS, AND EVEN GOING AS FAR AS TO SAY, FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN I BROUGHT THE FACT THAT SOLEIMAN WAS LEFT IN A PRONE POSITION WITH HANDS TIED BEHIND HIS BACK...

Nam says YOU NEED TO EXPLAIN WHAT THAT IS, SORRY. THAT'S HANDS TIED BEHIND THE BACK?

The caption changes to "For more information: tvo.org/unascertained."
Then, it changes again to "Yusuf Zine, @yusufzine."

Yusuf Zine says SO THE PRONE POSITION IS WHEN YOU'RE LAYING ON YOUR STOMACH FACE-DOWN. WHAT THAT DOES IS IT CONSTRICTS YOUR LUNG CAPACITY AND YOUR BREATHING CAPACITY, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOUR HANDS ARE TIED BEHIND YOUR BACK. IT'S A LOT HARDER TO GET AIR. AND THAT'S THE POSITION WE KNOW SOLEIMAN WAS LEFT IN. NOT EVEN TO MENTION THE FACT THAT HE WAS PEPPER-SPRAYED TWICE AND HAD A SPLIT HOOD, WHICH IS ESSENTIALLY A BAG OVER HIS HEAD, FURTHER CONSTRICTING HIS BREATHING. SO THESE ARE FACTS THAT WEREN'T INCLUDED REALLY IN THE POST MORTEM REPORT AND NOT TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT. SO WE KIND OF JUST LAID IT OUT FOR BOTH OF THEM AND ASKED WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY TO THIS? ONE OF THE DOCTORS AGREED THAT THAT IS A RISK FACTOR FOR SUDDEN DEATH. SO THE QUESTION NOW IS GOING TO BE, YOU KNOW, WE KNOW NOW THAT THAT'S A FACT, THAT SOLEIMAN WAS LEFT IN THAT POSITION. DR. POLANIN AGREED, THERE IS NO DEBATE, THAT IS A RISK FACTOR FOR SUDDEN DEATH. WILL THAT BE INCLUDED IN HIS OPINION IN THE CAUSE OF DEATH IN THIS NEW REPORT?

Nam says IN THE FIRST EPISODE OF THE PODCAST, YOU SAID THAT YOU WANTED TO GET ANSWERS... YOU WANTED THREE QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED. NOW THAT YOU'RE HEADING TOWARDS THE END OF THIS, DO YOU HAVE THOSE ANSWERS?

Yusuf Zine says WELL, I MEAN, FOR US, WHENEVER WE... AS LONG AS WE'VE BEEN INVESTIGATING THIS STORY AND ASKING THOSE QUESTIONS, IT ALWAYS CAME BACK TO UNASCERTAINED. WHEN WE ASKED WHY WERE THERE NO CHARGES LAID? WHY DON'T WE KNOW ALL THE FACT ABOUT SOLEIMAN'S CASE. TO US IT ALWAYS CAME BACK TO UNASCERTAINED. WHICH IS WHY WE DECIDED TO NAME THE PODCAST UNASCERTAINED.

Nam says CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT THAT MEANS?

Yusuf Zine says IN THE BEGINNING I THOUGHT UNASCERTAINED MEANS THERE IS NO CAUSE OF DEATH. BUT WHAT WE'VE COME TO LEARN IS THAT UNASCERTAINED DOESN'T MEAN THERE'S NO CAUSE OF DEATH, IT MEANS THERE COULD BE TEN. BUT THE PATHOLOGISTS COULDN'T DETERMINE WHICH ONE IS THE CAUSE OF DEATH. I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT ALSO FOR PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND, YOU KNOW, WHEN A PATHOLOGIST IS PUTTING TOGETHER A POST MORTEM REPORT OR REVIEWING A POST MORTEM, THEY'RE LOOKING AT TWO THINGS: THEY'RE LOOKING AT THE MEDICAL SCIENCE. WHAT THE BODY CAN TELL US ABOUT THE CAUSE OF DEATH AND THE CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE. HOW DID HE DIE? WHAT DID PEOPLE SEE? AND THAT'S WHY EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS, VIDEOTAPES, THINGS LIKE THAT ARE SO IMPORTANT. AND THAT'S KIND OF WHAT OUR PODCAST ATTEMPTED TO DO, WAS TO LOOK AT THE CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE AND PIECE TOGETHER A TIMELINE. I THINK WE WERE ABLE TO DO THAT. WE DO PROVIDE A COUPLE OF VERY COMPREHENSIVE TIMELINES OF WHAT HAPPENED TO SOLEIMAN IN HIS FINAL MOMENTS. BUT IN TERMS OF THE ANSWERS TO OUR QUESTIONS, THEY WILL REALLY COME ONCE WE READ THIS REPORT.

Nam says YUSUF FAQIRI, WHEN YOU HEARD THAT AS A FAMILY THAT THE CAUSE OF DEATH FOR YOUR BROTHER WAS UNASCERTAINED, WHAT WAS THE REACTION FROM YOUR FAMILY?

The caption changes to "Yusuf Faqiri, @Yusuf_Faqiri."

Yusuf Faqiri says IT'S REALLY FRUSTRATING, NAM, BECAUSE YOU KNOW AT THE INITIAL POINT HE SAID HE HAD THIS NUMBER OF CONTUSIONS, THE 50 BRUISES, THE FACT THAT HIS LEGS AND HIS HANDS WERE TIED. THERE WAS A PROFOUND AMOUNT OF CONFUSION BECAUSE MY BROTHER WAS ALIVE BEFORE THIS INCIDENT. HE WAS A HEALTHY 30-YEAR-OLD MAN. THERE WAS NO HEALTH ISSUES. AND HE'S DEAD AFTER. AND SO FOR US, LITERALLY FOR THE LAST FOUR AND A HALF YEARS, WE'RE ALWAYS ASKING, LIKE, WHY? THERE WAS A LOT OF INTERNAL CONVERSATIONS WITHIN THE FAMILY. YOU KNOW, MY MOM... ME AND MY MOM OR MY DAD OR MY BROTHER, LIKE, YUSUF, WHY, HOW? IT WASN'T JUST US, NAM, THAT ASKED THIS. I HAD CONVERSATIONS WITH MEDICAL EXPERTS IN TERMS OF PEOPLE THAT ASKED ABOUT THE CASE PUBLICLY, AND THEY QUESTIONED THE FACT THAT THIS WAS UNASCERTAINED. YOU HAD OTHER PEOPLE THAT WERE IN THE SPACE THAT SAID, HOW DID THEY COME TO THIS CONCLUSION WHEN YOU HAVE ALL THIS COMPELLING EVIDENCE THAT HAPPENED TO SOLI? WHEN THE OPP AS WELL, NAM, CALLED JOHN THIBAULT A CREDIBLE WITNESS? WE'VE BEEN FIGHTING. WE CONTINUE TO SUFFER. AND IT'S AS THOUGH SOLEIMAN'S LIFE DIDN'T REALLY MATTER. THE FACT HE CONTINUES TO BE DEAD IN FRONT OF US THE LAST FOUR YEARS AND THE GOVERNMENT DOESN'T EVEN ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT THEY DID TO HIM AND THEY KEPT THIS UNASCERTAINED IS VERY PROBLEMATIC AND FOR ME IT'S BEEN VERY HARD FOR MY MOM ESPECIALLY BECAUSE THEY WERE EXTREMELY CLOSE.

Nam says OUR LOVE TO YOUR MOM. YUSUF, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING ON THE SHOW. WE HAVE ABOUT 30 SECONDS LEFT, YUSUF ZINE. IF YOU CAN GIVE US AN IDEA OR AN EXPLANATION, WHY WERE THERE NO CRIMINAL CHARGES LAID AGAINST THE OFFICERS INVOLVED IN SOLEIMAN FAQIRI'S DEATH?

Yusuf Zine says AGAIN, I THINK IT COMES BACK TO UNASCERTAINED. IT'S SORT OF LIKE HOW CAN YOU TELL WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR SOLEIMAN'S DEATH IF YOU CAN'T TELL HOW HE DIED? BUT FOR US, I THINK THE EVIDENCE WE LAY OUT IN THE PODCAST KIND OF SHOWS VERY CLEARLY HOW HE COULD HAVE DIED AND VERY LIKELY HOW HE DID DIE. AND SO FROM THERE, THAT'S THE STARTING POINT FOR DETERMINING WHO IS RESPONSIBLE. SO I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE MAYBE USING UNASCERTAINED AS AN EXCUSE. BUT I THINK NOW WITH WHAT WE KNOW PUBLICLY, THAT'S NOT THE CASE ANYMORE. WE KNOW FAR MORE ABOUT THIS CASE.

The caption changes to "Producer: Colin Ellis, @ColinEllis81."

Nam says WELL, WE THANK YOU BOTH FOR YOUR TIME. YUSUF, OUR LOVE TO YOUR FAMILY. YOU CAN LISTEN TO A NEW EPISODE OF "UNASCERTAINED" ON JUNE 23RD, EXAMINING THESE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS. YOU CAN ACCESS THE SERIES ON APPLE PODCASTS OR ON OUR WEBSITE AND ALSO TVO PODCASTS ARE AVAILABLE ON AMAZON MUSIC. THANKS AGAIN TO YOU BOTH. REALLY APPRECIATE IT.

Yusuf Faqiri says THANK YOU, NAM.

Watch: Updating the Case of Soleiman Faqiri