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Arraignment set for drill instructor linked to Muslim recruit's death

A Parris Island drill instructor will be arraigned next week on charges related to allegations that he slapped a Muslim recruit before the recruit jumped to his death.

Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix faces a general court martial on the following charges, according to the Marine Corps Training and Education Command:

•    Cruelty and maltreatment
•    Drunk and disorderly conduct
•    Failure to obey a lawful general order
•    Obstruction of justice

The arraignment will take place April 26 at Camp Lejuene, N.C., and be open to the public, according to the training command release.

An arraignment is a hearing that formally charges a defendant with a crime and requests the defendant enter a plea. All defendants are presumed innocence until proven guilty.

The alleged conduct stems from the March 18, 2016, death of Raheel Siddiqui, 20, of the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion. Siddiqui died at Parris Island after falling nearly 40 feet down a stairwell.

Felix, one of Siddiqui’s drill instructors, had faced accusations prior to the recruit’s death that he made another Muslim recruit exercise in the shower and the ordered that recruit to sit in a clothes dryer, according to an investigation.

Accusations lodged against Felix claim he turned the dryer on several times and taunted the recruit about his religion, asking if the recruit took part in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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