#JusticeForSoli Campaign Update – Yusuf Faqiri travels across Ontario speaking on Mental Health, Prisons, and Segregation
On December 15, 2016, Solieman Faqiri was killed by 10-20 guards 11 days after being temporarily housed at the Central East Correctional Centre (CECC) in Lindsay, Ontario while awaiting a bed at the Ontario Shores Centres for Mental Health.
Solieman was diagnosed with schizophrenia and is one example of many Ontarians who have suffered from disproportionate response, abuse, or death by correctional services officers. The Ontario government has been negligent in its treatment of persons with mental health disabilities. The Ontario Human Rights Commission has raised concerns that the Ontario government was non compliant with policies and agreements. In September 2017 Yusuf testified in front of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. On January 18, 2018, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario mandated the province to end the use of segregation for the mentally disabled across its 26 correctional facilities.
Soleiman Faqiri’s brother, Yusuf Faqiri, has been seeking justice for his brother and demanding answers from the Ontario government as to how Soleiman’s death could have occurred while he was in their care. More than one year later the family remains without answers as to how 10-20 guards can assault restrained inmate in both handcuffs, leg irons, and a spit hood leading to his death and no criminal action has been laid.
As part of the ‘Justice for Soli’ campaign, Yusuf has travelled around the province on a speaking tour at universities, community events, places of worship and other venues. He has spoken on the issues of negligence, transparency, accountability, justice and reform in Ontario’s Correctional Services and the treatment of Ontarians with mental disability who find themselves under the care of the Government.
After kicking off with a vigil on December 15, 2017, Yusuf spoke at Concordia University, University of Toronto St. George, UofT Mississauga, UofT Scarborough, McMaster University, Lakehead University, Humber College, Mohawk College, among others. Yusuf was also a guest speaker at FEDTalks at the University of Ottawa and MIST Toronto in front of hundreds of high school students from across the province. Yusuf has spoken alongside Paul Champ, a well respect human rights lawyer, Yasin Dwyer, a former Prison Chaplain and the current Chaplain at Ryerson University, Rabia Khedr, a Community and Disability advocate, Ibrahim Hindy, a spiritual leader and advisor, and many other activists in this space.
Yusuf has spoken on topics including ‘Mental Health, Prison and Segregation’, ‘Mental Health and The Criminal Justice System’
Yusuf’s efforts has had a huge impact on reviving the discussion around mental health and Ontario’s correctional services system. As a result thousands of students and activists have engaged with the Justice For Soli Campaign.
On March 3, 2018, Yusuf was awarded the Malcolm Social Justice Award at the One Love Gala for his steadfast efforts to draw attention to this injustice. The award was presented by MP Rob Oliphant.