Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Yusuf Faqiri, in his Toronto home on Nov. 10, 2020.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The organizer: Yusuf Faqiri

The pitch: Raising awareness about mental-health issues in prisons

Yusuf Faqiri was on the phone with his friend when his sister burst into the room in tears and said their brother, Soleiman, had died.

Story continues below advertisement

Soleiman was being held at the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ont., while he awaited trial on charges of assault and uttering threats. He’d been diagnosed with schizophrenia and he was supposed to be in a mental-health unit. The family found out later that there had been an altercation with a group of guards and that Soleiman, 30, had been restrained and beaten. No charges have been laid despite a pair of police investigations and a coroner’s report that said Soleiman’s body had more than 50 signs of “blunt impact trauma.”

The incident happened on Dec. 15, 2016, and Mr. Faqiri has been looking for answers ever since. He created an organization called Justice for Soli and he hopes that an upcoming coroner’s inquest will help shed light on what happened.

But he also wants to raise awareness about mental-health issues in prisons. “We want to make sure that other families don’t go through the ordeal that my family is going through,” Mr. Faqiri said from his home in Toronto where he works as a civil servant.

The group is calling for more funding for mental-health services in prisons and greater transparency for what goes on behind bars. Justice for Soli has been backed by dozens of organizations including the Schizophrenia Society of Canada, the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies and Arch Disability Law Centre. Mr. Faqiri has also toured Ontario and parts of Canada to meet families who have experienced similar tragedies.

Mr. Faqiri said that in many ways prisons have become mental-health hospitals and officials must be held accountable for how they treat inmates. “It’s a very opaque system,” he said. “When somebody goes in nobody knows what’s going on.

He added that he plans to keep fighting for his brother and every other mentally ill prisoner. “This work that we are doing goes beyond my late brother,” he said. “I see this work as a service to this country, as a public service.”


Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies