Marine drill instuctor to face court martial after Michigan recruit's death

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Raheel Siddiqui

A Marine drill instructor will face a court martial on accusations that he mistreated a Metro Detroit Muslim recruit who later died from his injuries.

Gunnery Sergeant Joseph Felix was charged Wednesday in connection with several abuse cases including that of 20-year-old Raheel Saddiqui. The Taylor man died after falling down a barracks stairwell in March of 2016.

Felix had not been identified until Wednesday when the court martial was announced.

The fall happend shortly after a confrontation with Felix. The Marines ruled it a suicide but his family says that's not true and point to alleged hazing as evidence of foul play.

Their son was in boot camp for 11 days in Parris Island, South Carolina, when he fell down three flights of stairs and died. In June 2016, his family told FOX 2 that they believed there was something criminal that led to his death.

"I want justice and I want to know what happened to my son," said Ghazala Siddiqui lat year.

A redacted investigative report did not mention Siddiqui by name but appeared to describe his death. It says that on March 18, the day Siddiqui died, an unnamed recruit wrote a note to his drill instructor asking to go to the infirmary for a sore throat. Because he didn't follow proper procedure, the recruit was forced to run back and forth in his barracks, the report said.

After several runs, the recruit began to cry and fell to the floor clutching his throat, apparently unresponsive, the report said. He was ordered to get up and was slapped in the face, it said. After he was slapped, the recruit ran out a door and vaulted over a railing on the third floor of the barracks, the report said.

In late June, FOX 2 reported the Marine Corps general in charge of education and training said the service was investigating allegations of hazing, assault and physical abuse involving 15 drill instructors at Parris Island.

"He was a determined and motivated person," said Sidra Siddiqui, his sister. "Everybody loved being around him. He had a big bright smile and was always there to help other people. He was caring, sweet and honest. He was a great brother on top of that."

In September, FOX 2 learned that 20 Marine recruit training personnel may face disciplinary action for his death.

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20 Marines may face disciplinary action after Taylor recruit's death

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.