91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Marine recruit’s death shows “torture, abuse and suffering;” drill sergeant faces court martial

Raheel Siddiqui, a Pakistani-American Muslim from Taylor, was 11 days into his basic training with the United States Marine Corps on Parris Island in South Carolina when he died.
Courtesy of the Siddiqui family
Raheel Siddiqui was 11 days into his basic training with the United States Marine Corps on Parris Island in South Carolina when he died.

“The physical evidence in this case tells the story of torture, abuse and suffering.”

That's the assertion of the lawyer representing the family of Raheel Siddiqui, a 20-year-old from Taylor who died while attending boot camp in South Carolina in March of 2016. According to the Marines, Siddiqui committed suicide by jumping 40 feet down a stairwell. 

His family is disputing those findings and now, his drill sergeant at Parris Island is facing charges.
Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix will face a general court martial on several counts related to Siddiqui's death. 

"Raheel died on American soil in boot camp. This wasn't on the battlefield. This was at home. And that's what's most concerning here."

Shiraz Kahn, the Siddiqui family's lawyer and spokesperson, joined Stateside to talk about the case and why he doesn't see this as a "Muslim issue." Kahn says this is rather an "American issue."

"Raheel died on American soil in boot camp,” Kahn said. “This wasn’t on the battlefield. This was at home. And that’s what’s most concerning here. We need to know that our recruits are treated fairly and at this point, the family doesn’t feel that that was the case."

Kahn said there are several questions that still need to be answered in this case. 

"The U.S. [Marine Corps] command and investigation [into] itself listed violations by multiple individuals on multiple levels of command," Kahn said. "And so why now are the charges being centered around one person? Where are the charges against those other folks involved? Why are we not seeing that now?"

Rep. Debbie Dingell?, D-Dearborn, has also been following this case closely. 

"I think it’s very important that everybody that was involved with this be held accountable for what happened,” Dingell said. “The most difficult thing is that no matter what we do, we can never bring this young son back to his mother."

Listen to the full interview above.

(Subscribe to the Stateside podcast on iTunesGoogle Play, or with this RSS link)

Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
Josh Hakala, a lifelong Michigander (East Lansing & Edwardsburg), comes to Michigan Radio after nearly two decades of working in a variety of fields within broadcasting and digital media.
Related Content