The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new attention to what many familiar with Guantánamo Bay have known for years: the military prison lacks the infrastructure, expertise, and equipment to manage and address emergent health issues, including a serious viral outbreak.
In this article, defense attorney and former Judge Advocate in the US Air Force Annie Morgan discusses the unique issues complicating detainee medical care, such as the age and health of detainees, the military’s lack of adequate equipment and personnel for COVID-19, and the domestic law prohibiting the transfer of detainees to the United States for medical treatment.
Morgan then highlights three solutions to address the inadequate medical care available to detainees, both during the COVID-19 pandemic and afterward. First, that there should be increased virtual contact between detainees and their lawyers and NGO representatives. Second, that there should be more agile deployment capabilities for specialist personnel and equipment. And finally, that the military should develop a transport plan for emergency medical treatment, either by pursuing congressional carve-outs from the general domestic ban, or by working with third-party countries to provide treatment.