The Washington Post reports: A military jury sentenced a former Marine drill instructor to 10 years in prison and a dishonorable discharge from the service Friday for subjecting Muslim recruits to verbal and physical abuse, including one young man who committed suicide after an especially troubling encounter.
The eight-member jury issued its sentence a day after it found Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix guilty of maltreatment for terrorizing three Muslim men at the Marines’ storied boot camp in Parris Island, S.C. Felix also will have his rank reduced to private.
Prosecutors had asked for a seven-year prison term. Felix faced a maximum possible sentence of more than 21 years. It’s not immediately clear why the jury elected to exceed what the prosecution had requested.
The military justice system requires automatic appeals for all prison sentences consisting of a year or more and all dishonorable discharges. Felix will be held at Camp Lejeune’s brig until his expected transfer to a larger prison.
One of Felix’s victims, 20-year-old Raheel Siddiqui, died at Parris Island last year when he fell 40 feet onto a concrete stairwell. Prosecutors said Felix forced Siddiqui to run back and forth in the recruits’ squad bay and then slapped him in the face just before the recruit suddenly sprinted from the room and jumped to his death. Two other Muslim recruits accused Felix of putting them in an industrial clothes dryer and, in one instance, turning it on. [Continue reading…]