Dingell Statement on Referral of Charges Related to Raheel Siddiqui Case
Washington, DC, April 5, 2017
U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) today released the following statement after the U.S. Marine Corps announced that charges have been referred to General Court-Martial against Gunnery Sergeant Joseph A. Felix and Sergeant Michael K. Eldridge, which include charges related to the death of Private Raheel Siddiqui from Taylor, Michigan.
“What happened to Private Siddiqui at Parris Island was more than a dereliction of duty – it was a tragedy that stole a son and a brother from his family and robbed a young man of his life and dream of serving the country he loved. We have a moral responsibility to hold those responsible accountable and pursue justice for the Siddiqui family, but the reality is, no matter what we do we can never bring him back. A young man is dead, and we must ensure a tragedy like this never happens again.
“As these proceedings move forward, I will continue to work closely with the Marine Corps to ensure those responsible are held to account. Additionally, since the investigation has given no specific evidence of suicide, I am determined to work with the Marine Corps, the family and all stakeholders to re-examine the autopsy report and get a more fair and neutral finding on cause of death. We will never know what happened that day, but it is very clear to me and others based on the facts revealed in the investigation that it was not Private Siddiqui’s intention to take his own life. I will not stop working alongside his family and the Marine Corps until the determination is changed to more accurately reflect the events of that day 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 General 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.