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Former Marine Drill Instructor Pleads Guilty to Charges in Recruit’s Death

Kissoon

By Debbie Gregory.

Lt. Col. Joshua Kissoon, the highest-ranking Marine implicated in the recruit abuse and hazing scandal following the death of a Muslim recruit, has pleaded guilty to charges of dereliction of duty, making a false statement and conduct unbecoming an officer. Kissoon has chosen to take an early retirement.

Raheel Siddiqui died at Parris Island after a fall that the Marine Corps characterized as a suicide. Siddiqui, in his second week on the island, was reported to have been trying to request permission to go to medical for a sore throat on the day of his death. He was refused medical attention, instead being forced to run laps in his barracks. When he collapsed on the floor, he was allegedly slapped by his senior drill instructor, Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix. It was then that Siddiqui supposedly ran through a door in the barracks and leaped over an exterior stairwell, falling three stories.

Kissoon’s was the final court-martial in connection with the 20-year-old’s death.

Siddiqui’s parents have maintained that their son, as both a faithful Muslim and son, was morally incapable of purposely killing himself. In Islam, suicide is a mortal sin.  They also claim that Siddiqui never had any mental health issues or threatened suicide. He had spent months training with his recruiter before boot camp in order to succeed. The family has filed a $100 million lawsuit against the federal government claiming negligence led to their son’s death.

Felix was convicted by a military court of abusing Siddiqui, as well as two additional Muslim recruits on separate occasions.

Felix received a dishonorable discharge, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Following Siddiqui’s death, the Marine Corps instituted a zero-tolerance policy for abusing and hazing recruits.

In total, five Marines, including Felix and Kissoon, were either convicted or pleaded guilty at courts-martial.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Family Sues USMC for $100M

Raheel

By Debbie Gregory.

The family of 20-year-old Raheel Siddiqui, a Muslim Marine recruit who died after being slapped by drill instructor Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix, is pushing to move forward with their $100 million lawsuit against the federal government.

Siddiqui’s death was ruled a suicide by a local coroner, which is disputed by his family.

The courts have consistently held that all claims relating to injuries to active-duty military personnel are not actionable in civil courts based on a longstanding legal doctrine that the government cannot be sued for injuries or deaths involving active-duty military personnel that occurred in the course of their service.

Shiraz Khan, the Siddiqui family attorney argues that Siddiqui should not be considered active-duty military because he hadn’t yet completed boot camp, and the hazing and abuse that led to his death because of his Muslim faith began during the recruitment phase.

Allegations of abuse involving other Muslim recruits at Parris Island involving Sgt.Felix had been raised prior to this incident.

Siddiqui, in his second week on the island, was reported to have been trying to request permission to go to medical for a sore throat on the day of his death. He was refused medical attention, instead being forced to run laps in his barracks. When he collapsed on the floor, Sgt.Felix allegedly slapped him. That is when Siddiqui allegedly ran through a door in the barracks and leaped over an exterior stairwell, falling three stories.

Felix was convicted of mistreating recruits, although he maintained his innocence throughout his court-martial.

His parents have maintained that their son, as both a faithful Muslim and son, was morally incapable of purposely killing himself. In Islam, suicide is a mortal sin.  They also claim that Siddiqui never had any mental health issues or threatened suicide. He had spent months training with his recruiter before boot camp in order to succeed.

The government noted that following Siddiqui’s death, the family received $100,000 from the government in addition to a life insurance payment of more than $400,000.

Family of Marine Recruit who Died at Parris Island Sues for $100 Million

siddiqui

By Debbie Gregory.

The parents of a former Marine recruit who died at Parris Island after a three-story fall have filed a $100 million lawsuit against the federal government.

Ghazala Siddiqui and Masood Siddiqui claim their son, Raheel,  was “assaulted, hazed and discriminated against because of his Muslim faith, and died after allegedly being abused.

The lawsuit claims the Marines “fostered a culture of abuse and hazing” at the training base at Parris Island, S.C.that led to the death of the 20-year-old in March, 2016.

The Marines have maintained that Siddiqui’s death was a suicide, a conclusion that his family has rejected, along with suggestions that Siddiqui was somehow not prepared for the rigors of Parris Island.

Siddiqui, in his second week on the island, was reported to have been trying to request permission to go to medical for a sore throat on the day of his death. He was refused medical attention, instead being forced to run laps in his barracks. When he collapsed on the floor, his drill instructor allegedly slapped him. That is when Siddiqui allegedly ran through a door in the barracks and leaped over an exterior stairwell, falling three stories.

Siddiqui succumbed to his injuries at Medical University of South Carolina Hospital several hours later. His parents have maintained that their son, as both a faithful Muslim and son, was morally incapable of purposely killing himself. In Islam, suicide is a mortal sin.  They also claim that Siddiqui never had any mental health issues or threatened suicide. He had spent months training with his recruiter before boot camp in order to succeed.

Making him seem weak or unprepared, the family and their lawyer argue, shifts blame away from where it belongs: with the Marines.

Following Siddiqui’s death, the Marine Corps instituted a zero-tolerance policy for abusing and hazing recruits.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.