In January 2019, the Faqiri family filed a 14.3-million-dollar lawsuit at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for “excessive force.”

The lawsuit is intended to uncover the truth about what happened to Soleiman, why it happened, and ensure that it won’t happen to others in the future.

The lawsuit claims that Soli’s charter rights were breached, that there was battery amounting to intentional physical harm, negligence, abuse of public office, false imprisonment, a breach of duty of care, and the infliction of psychiatric damage.

In response, the province filed a statement defending the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and denying that any of its staff used “unauthorized force” on Soleiman.

The lawsuit takes aim at the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, the superintendent of the Central East Correctional Centre and seven individual correctional staff members.

The lawsuit also addresses the failure of the Kawartha Lakes police to interview John Thibeault, a former inmate who had witnessed Soli’s beating and death from his cell across the hall: “The plaintiffs understand that the information that eluded the [Kawartha police] was, in fact, the evidence of an eyewitness to Soleiman’s death whom police neglected to interview despite being aware of him.” 

This is not the first civil lawsuit in response to the death of a Canadian under government care. In October 2009, the family of Ashley Smith launched an $11-million wrongful death lawsuit against the Correctional Service of Canada. Although it was settled out-of-court in 2011, the lawsuit brought even more attention to the death of Ashley Smith, leading to an even stronger push to end the use of segregation against mentally ill prisoners. In 2017, the federal Public Safety Minister invoked the Ashley Smith case as the Liberal government introduced C-56, a bill to eventually bring a 15-day limit to solitary confinement in federal prisons.

About the Movement

Justice for Soli was founded by Soleiman’s eldest brother, Yusuf Faqiri, only one or two days after his brother’s murder in December 2016. In early 2017, the McMaster Muslims for Peace and Justice became the first organization to completely throw its support behind Justice for Soli, transforming what was once a small group of friends and family into a larger social justice movement with hundreds of supporters. Today, over 100 organizations are affiliated with Justice for Soli, supporting the movement in its fight for justice, transparency and accountability.