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Pentagon changes plan to vaccinate Guantanamo inmates

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

The US defense ministry has stalled plans to vaccinate inmates held at the Guantanamo Bay prison for Covid-19.

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby made the announcement on Twitter Saturday, amid pressure to disregard the health condition of prisoners held over the so-called war on terror by the United States.

“No Guantanamo detainees have been vaccinated. We’re pausing the plan to move forward, as we review force protection protocols. We remain committed to our obligations to keep our troops safe,” read the tweet.

The announcement was made amid earlier objections by certain lawmakers, arguing that the American people should be vaccinated first.

"It is inexcusable and un-American that President Biden is choosing to prioritize vaccinations for convicted terrorists in Gitmo over vulnerable American seniors or veterans," Rep. Elise Stefanik said.

It is not yet clear how many cases of the coronavirus exist in Gitmo.

"Nothing says #unity like letting the 9/11 mastermind & Gitmo detainees skip in front of millions of Americans for the COVID #vaccine," Stefanik said.

Guantanamo was established by former president George W. Bush’s administration in 2002 as a prison for alleged foreign terrorism suspects following the September 11, 2001, attacks in the US.

A Senate report in December 2014 revealed that the CIA has used a wide array of sexual abuse and other forms of torture as part of their interrogation methods against Guantanamo prisoners.


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