News in Brief: UN Official Denied Visit With Manning, and More

UN Official Denied Visit With Manning

The United Nation Special Rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez said that he is “deeply disappointed and frustrated” that his request “for an unmonitored visit with Pfc. Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst accused of passing classified material to WikiLeaks” has been denied by defense officials, The Washington Post reports. Mendez was told that his visit must be supervised. His rejection follows a similar request by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), which was also denied.

Defying Ban, Veiled Women Detained in France

In Paris on Monday, two women were detained for defying their country's new ban on wearing veils during an “impromptu demonstration,” The Los Angeles Times reports. While “the new law, which prohibits the wearing of a veil that covers the full face in public places such as parks, cinemas and schools” does not specifically mention Islam, it hints of Islamophobia. For instance, “those who defy the ban face a $216 fine and attendance at a 'citizenship course.'” The action came as a Saturday demonstration against the coming law resulted in the arrest of “59 people, including 19 veiled women.”

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DC Mayor, Council Members Arrested

Washington, DC, Mayor Vince Gray and several City Council members were arrested late Tuesday for protesting outside of the Hart Senate Office building, reports the Washington City Paper. Gray announced his arrest on Twitter, saying he was getting arrested for “DC autonomy.” He and other council members are concerned about policy “'riders' in the budget deal Congress and the White House reached Friday night, which ban the District from using local funds to pay for abortions and reinstate a voucher program for schools.”

Reproductive Health Groups for Women See Surge in Support

At the height of the budget debate last week, reproductive health groups saw a surge in support, Politico reports. Groups such as Planned Parenthood saw their financial support increase by 500 percent while NARAL Pro-Choice America saw nearly 1,000 email subscription additions a day. The support came at a time when such groups saw their supporters complacent, especially on the heels of compromises made in both the health care reform debate in 2009 and last week's budget battle. “This was such a clear attack on contraception, women’s health and abortion care. It’s been good to see the party committees engaging in choice-related issues in ways they have not in the past,” said Nancy Keegan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Bahrain Quickly Silencing Press, Says Group

The group Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a statement calling on Bahrain's government to drop politically-motivated charges against a newspaper editor and “cease their campaign to silence independent journalism.” Mansoor al-Jamri, chief editor of the newspaper Al Wasat, was charged “with publishing fabricated news and made up stories … that may harm public safety and national interests,” HRW reports via the state-run Bahrain News Agency.