Heather Cerveny

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Heather Cerveny
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Rank Sergeant

Sergeant Heather Cerveny is a member of the United States Marine Corps, and a paralegal who submitted an affidavit describing boasts of abusive treatment meted out to detainees held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba.[1][2] Her claims were rejected by a military investigator and she was later accused of making a false statement.[3]

The Department of Defense's Inspector General announced that another inquiry would be launched into detainee treatment, based on Cerveny's affidavit.[4]

Previous inquiries, like the Schmidt report, concluded that abuse at the camps was degrading, but did not rise to the level of "inhumane".[5]

Gag order[edit]

Muneer Ahmad, the civilian lawyer for Omar Khadr, reported that Cerveny, and her boss, Colby Vokey, Khadr's military lawyer, had been ordered not to speak to the media pending Marine chief defense counsel Col. Carol Joyce's review of Cerveny's claims.[6]

The report quotes a statement released by the Marines explaining that Col. Joyce:

... had directed him[Vokey] not to communicate with the media "pending her review of the facts. This is necessary to ensure all actions of counsel are in compliance with regulations establishing professional standards for military attorneys."[6]

Bassett report[edit]

Colonel Richard Bassett was the officer assigned to investigate the allegations in Cerveny's affidavit.[7] He returned from his investigation on November 15, 2006.[8]

The Associated Press quoted one of Bassett's superiors, who said Bassett: "...interviewed guards and some detainees during a visit to the naval base in southeast Cuba. He also traveled around the U.S. to speak with guards who had left Guantanamo,"[7][9]

The report was submitted by Basset on December 10, 2006.[10] and the results made public in February, 2008.[11] The report recommended no disciplinary action against the five Army,and Navy men whom Cerveny accused in her affidavit as he asserted there was insufficient evidence to support Cerveny's claims.[12] Based upon his findings through the investigation, Colonel Bassett then accused Cerveny of filing false reports.[13]

On December 18, 2008 Fox News, MSNBC and other media outlets published an Associated Press story based on previously classified portions of Bassett's inquiry they had acquired through a successful Freedom of Information Act request.[14][15][16] had determined one of the men Cerveny had named had been part of the riot squad that had left a GI with brain damage who had been asked to masquerade as a detainee who represented a threat for a training exercise.

The previously classified portions of the inquiry reported that another of the men had acknowledged abusing captives.[14]

According to Fox News Vokey reacted to the new information, saying: "the report shows the military ignored statements that undermined the sailors' denials."[14]

Fox News quotes spokesman Colonel William Costello saying he had nothing to add to "what we announced publicly almost two years ago."[14] Fox News quoted Ben Wizner, of the American Civil Liberties Union, characterizing the original inquiry as "narrow", and pointed out that the inquiry hadn't reported the men hadn't abused captives, merely that there was "insufficient evidence" that they had bragged about doing so to Cerveny.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marine says morale miserable at Guantanamo Bay prison, San Jose Mercury, October 13, 2006
  2. ^ Cerveny's affidavit (.pdf), October 4, 2006
  3. ^ never charged. Now stationed in Washington DC.Military: No Gitmo Guard Abuse Evident, U.S. Military Investigation Reports No Evidence Guards Beat Guantanamo Detainees – CBS News[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Pentagon orders probe into Marine's report of Guantanamo detainee abuse, The Jurist, October 13, 2006
  5. ^ Alleged Guantanamo Abuse Did Not Rise to Level of 'Inhumane' Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine., Department of Defense, July 13, 2005
  6. ^ a b 2 Ordered Not to Discuss Gitmo Claims, Washington Post, October 14, 2006
  7. ^ a b Col. Submits Guantanamo Investigation: U.S. Army colonel completes, turns in report on Guantanamo abuse investigation, CBS News, December 10, 2006
  8. ^ U.S. Army colonel investigating abuse allegations returns from Guantanamo, North Carolina Times, November 16, 2006
  9. ^ Col. Submits Guantanamo Investigation, The Guardian, December 10, 2006
  10. ^ Michael Melia (December 10, 2006). "Col. Submits Guantanamo Investigation". Washington Postss. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  11. ^ "Investigator into alleged Guantanamo abuse accuses Marine of false complaint". International Herald Tribune. February 2, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  12. ^ Richard Bassett (2007-02-05). "Army Regulation (AR) 15-6 Investigation into Alleged Abuse of Detainees at Joint Task Force – Guantanamo2009-08-04Department of DefenseGuantanamo;abuse" (PDF). United States Department of Defense. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-08-04. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  13. ^ Michael Melia (February 7, 2007). "Military: No Gitmo Guard Abuse Evident: U.S. military investigation reports no evidence guards beat Guantanamo detainees". CBS News. Retrieved 2007-10-31. [dead link]
  14. ^ a b c d "Guantanamo Guard Admits Prisoner Abuse, ACLU Demands 'Top to Bottom' Review". Fox News. 2008-12-18. Archived from the original on 2009-08-04. Retrieved 2009-08-04. Last year's investigation seemed to end the controversy, but a copy of the investigator's report obtained by The Associated Press reveals that one of the guards had previously told military officials he abused detainees, while the other had attacked a man posing as a detainee in a training exercise before being deployed to Cuba. 
  15. ^ "Investigation into the Cerveny Allegations (The Bassett Report)". Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  16. ^ "Gitmo guard admitted to abuse: Critics say military probe that cleared 2 men was a sham". MSNBC. 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2010-04-10. Bassett then went to Camp Pendleton, Calif., to interview Cerveny, but spoke with her for only about five minutes and treated her like someone accused of a crime instead of a person who reported a possible outrage, Vokey told AP. "It was definitely confrontational, like a cross-examination," Vokey said. "He read her her rights and accused her of making a false claim. It scared Sgt. Cerveny pretty badly. She was shaking afterward." 

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