The Justice for Soli Campaign calls on provincial leaders to pledge transparency and accountability in province’s jails

Toronto – The family of a mentally ill man who was killed while in provincial custody is calling on the Ontario government to immediately release its investigative file into his death, including crucial footage which shows his final moments alive.

Soleiman Faqiri died in December 2016 while in custody at the Central East Correctional Centre (CECC) in Lindsay, Ontario. He was waiting for a bed to be made available at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Facility. The family has been seeking answers to the death and have received almost no information to date, despite filing access to information requests. The government has frequently cited privacy.

Today, The Toronto Star published a front page investigative piece on the issue, after receiving a rejection to its own freedom of information request for the footage. Ontario’s Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services cited labour relations as the newest reason for withholding information.

Latest story: He died after guards beat and pepper-sprayed him, according to video. The province refuses to release the footage, citing labour relations

The Star contacted several legal experts who stated “the denial is ‘a misuse’ of Section 65 (6) because the video was created independent of any labour issue,” andthe use of labour relations exemptions is concerning because of vast potential to cover up serious misconduct in Ontario jails.” One lawyer suggested that secrecy is “part of the ministry’s MO” based on his experience in other cases.

The Faqiri family and the legal team believe that the video is being withheld because it may show what happened in the minutes prior to Soleiman’s death, what the coroner’s report described as more than 50 signs of injuries caused by “blunt impact trauma.”

The Faqiri family and its lawyers Nader Hasan and Edward Marrocco, from Stockwoods LLP, are calling on “the Ontario government to reverse its misguided decision to withhold the investigative files from the family.  And we are calling on Andrea Horwath and Doug Ford to commit to releasing these investigative materials within 10 days of taking office should they be elected Premier.”

Today’s statement from family’s legal counsel:

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