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Dingell Seeks Further Clarification on Death of Marine Corps Private Raheel Siddiqui

Ann Arbor, MI, April 4, 2016

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) today sent a letter to U.S. Marine Corps Commandant General Robert B. Neller seeking further clarification on the circumstances surrounding the death of U.S. Marine Corps Private Raheel Siddiqui of Taylor, Michigan. Private Siddiqui died on March 18, 2016 after arriving at Parris Island for boot camp.

“It is our shared responsibility to ensure there is a prompt and unbiased inquiry into the circumstances surrounding his death,” Dingell wrote. “Therefore, I respectfully request answers to the following questions to help ensure Congress and the family have a full accounting of the circumstances surrounding this tragedy.

“Answers to these questions will give the family comfort during these difficult times and will help Congress conduct oversight of this incident.”  

The letter can be read here and below.

April 4, 2016

General Robert B. Neller
Commandant
U.S. Marine Corps
3000 Marine Corps, Pentagon
Washington, DC 20350-3000

Dear General Neller:

This letter is in regards to the tragic death of U.S. Marine Corps recruit Private Raheel Siddiqui of Taylor, Michigan.  Private Siddiqui died on March 18, 2016 after arriving at Parris Island for boot camp.  He was a young man of the Muslim faith who loved his country and wanted to serve it and protect the freedoms for which it stands.  My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time. 

It is our shared responsibility to ensure there is a prompt and unbiased inquiry into the circumstances surrounding his death.  Therefore, I respectfully request answers to the following questions to help ensure Congress and the family have a full accounting of the circumstances surrounding this tragedy.

1.    What is the timeline for when the Navy Criminal Investigative Service is expected to complete their inquiry into the death of Private Siddiqui?  It is critical that this thorough and comprehensive inquiry be completed as soon as possible.

2.    Will the Marine Corps commit to preserving all relevant records relating to Private Siddiqui’s death, including medical and autopsy records, and share them with Congress and the family at the appropriate time?

3.    It is my understanding that Lt. Col. Joshua Kissoon, a recruit battalion commander at Parris Island, was relieved of his command one day prior to Private Siddiqui’s death.  Why was Lt. Col. Kissoon relieved of his duties?  Was there any indication of his not being sensitive enough to the needs of recruits?  Did Lt. Col Kissoon ever interact with Private Siddiqui?  Please provide a detailed response. 

4.    Some are concerned that hazing may have been involved in the death of Private Siddiqui.  Has the Marine Corps received any indication that any hazing occurred in this instance?  Does the Marine Corps have any policies in place to prevent and deter hazing from happening at basic training?  Please provide a detailed response. 

Answers to these questions will give the family comfort during these difficult times and will help Congress conduct oversight of this incident.  Given the importance of this request, I ask that you respond to this letter no later than close of business Monday, April 18, 2016.  Please do not hesitate to contact me directly if you have any questions or need any more information. 

Sincerely, 

Debbie Dingell
Member of Congress

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