Twenty US Marines face charges over Muslim recruit's death

Twenty US Marines face charges over Muslim recruit's death
2 min read
09 September, 2016
A Pakistani-American trainee soldier who reportedly fell to his death at a training camp was allegedly 'slapped' by a drill sergeant, and suffered continued bullying from his peers.
A Marine Corps probe has revealed allegations of physical and verbal abuse [Getty]
The US marine corps is weighing criminal or administrative charges against as many as 20 personnel following the death of a Muslim trainee, officials said Thursday.

Raheel Siddiqui, 20, reportedly fell three stories to his death at a recruitment depot in Parris Island, California, after a drill instructor allegedly slapped him on the face. The marines have classed the death as a suicide.

"Commanders and senior enlisted advisers at the series, company, battalion and regimental level were relieved in the wake of Recruit Siddiqui's death, and a number of drill instructors have been suspended," a statement from the marine corps reads. 

"Currently, 20 recruit training regiment personnel have been identified for possible military justice or administrative action."

While the marine probe has uncovered a slew of allegations of physical and verbal abuse of recruits by drill instructors, investigations by the Wall Street Journal have raised concerns about allegations of Islamophobia at the training centre. 

Citing anonymous marine officials, the Journal said the drill instructor had referred to the Pakistani-American as a "terrorist".

Since the opening of the probe, commanders have implemented changes including the mandatory suspension of personnel who are being investigated for recruit abuse.

"I fully support and endorse these initial actions," marine corps' Commandant General Robert Neller said in a statement.

"When America's men and women commit to becoming Marines, we make a promise to them. We pledge to train them with firmness, fairness, dignity and compassion."

Anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States has risen rapidly in recent years, largely in relation to international terror acts and subsequent fear mongering by high-profile politicians.

According to some observers, this sentiment has reached its highest peak since 9/11.