ARCH Statement on decision to not lay charges in death of Soleiman Faqiri
August 11, 2020
ARCH Disability Law Centre is deeply concerned by the Ontario Provincial Police’s (OPP) decision not to lay charges against the correctional officers involved in the death of Soleiman Faqiri at the Central East Correctional Centre. ARCH urges the OPP to re-consider its decision and lay criminal charges against those responsible for Mr. Faqiri’s death.
In or around December 2016, Soleiman Faqiri was in a segregated cell at the Central East Correctional Centre awaiting to be transferred to the Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health in Whitby. Mr. Faqiri was a person with a mental health disability. While at the Correctional Facility, Mr. Faqiri sustained obvious and brutal injuries that led to his death. At least six guards were involved in the altercation. Yet, on August 6, 2020, almost four years from when Mr. Faqiri tragically died, the OPP announced that its investigation had concluded with no charges being laid against the guards. The OPP announced that it declined to lay charges because of its inability to determine which guard dealt the fatal blow.
ARCH is alarmed at the OPP’s basis for not laying charges, which is a flagrant disregard for well-established legal principles including that culpability for an offence can be shared amongst a group of accused parties. Persons with disabilities experience disproportionate violence at the hands of law enforcement and other positions of authority. Moreover, persons with disabilities who identify with intersecting identities including Black, Indigenous and racialized communities are disproportionately impacted. The refusal to lay charges against those who have committed violence against Mr. Faqiri further demonstrates how the lives of persons with disabilities are devalued in Ontario.
ARCH continues to call for systemic change to end the discriminatory and violent treatment against persons with disabilities in Ontario.