CHICAGO: The parents of a US Marines recruit who died during training have filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming their son was physically abused and targeted because of his Muslim faith.
The military has said Raheel Siddiqui committed suicide last year by jumping over a third-story railing, after enduring days of hazing. A drill instructor and battalion commander face military trials in the case.
In a $100 million lawsuit filed Friday in Siddiqui’s home state of Michigan, his Pakistani immigrant parents rejected the suicide claim, saying the 20-year-old’s Muslim faith would have made him incapable of killing himself.
“Raheel Siddiqui was excited about serving,” the lawsuit said, and “told friends and family he will ‘come back as a Marine and will not quit no matter how hard it is’.”
“No witness has come forward with any credible and/or verifiable information corroborating the allegation of suicide.”
The lawsuit charges that the military should have prevented the abuse, because the trainer supervising Siddiqui had been accused of targeting another Muslim recruit in an earlier incident.
The family claimed the young man was repeatedly struck and had a significant throat injury which was not given proper medical treatment.
Since Siddiqui’s death, approximately 20 Marines at the Parris Island training facility in South Carolina have been accused of abusing recruits, according to US media.
A Marines Corps spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.