Dingell Statement on Conviction in Raheel Siddiqui Case
DEARBORN, MI – U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) released the following statement after an eight-member jury found Gunnery Sergeant Joseph Felix guilty of mistreating recruits, including Private Raheel Siddiqui of Taylor, Michigan, who died while training at Parris Island on March 18, 2016.
“What happened to Raheel Siddiqui at Parris Island was a dereliction of duty and a tragedy. This young man was a son, brother, a class valedictorian and a patriot whose dream was to serve the country he loved and defend the freedoms many of us take for granted. Instead, Raheel and other recruits were targeted, degraded and mistreated by the individual charged. As the prosecution stated in closing arguments, Sergeant Felix ‘wasn’t making Marines, he was breaking Marines.’
“No matter what we do, we cannot bring Raheel back, but we must ensure that justice is served and that those responsible are held to account. I will continue working closely with the Marine Corps and the Siddiqui family to ensure justice is done and that we can prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again. Additionally, evidence presented at the trial reaffirms that the finding of suicide should be revisited. I will continue to work with all involved to have the initial findings revisited with additional facts that have become available so we can bring some measure of peace to the Siddiqui family.”
Dingell has been in constant communication with the Marine Corps since Private Siddiqui’s death on March 18, 2016. She wrote Marine Corps Commandant General Robert B. Neller seeking further clarification on the circumstances surrounding Siddiqui’s death, and consistently pressed for additional information about the investigation into drill instructors and senior leadership at Parris Island.