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Sudan internet shutdown: Another court case filed

June 27 - 2019 KHARTOUM
According to NetBlocks, internet measurements show the restrictions are now more severe than those implemented under the rule of ousted president Omar Al Bashir (NetBlocks)
According to NetBlocks, internet measurements show the restrictions are now more severe than those implemented under the rule of ousted president Omar Al Bashir (NetBlocks)

A large number of people have filed a lawsuit against Zain Telecom related to an ongoing internet blackout in Sudan, which has reportedly cost companies more than one billion Dollars.

This follows the apparent success of a court case filed by a lawyer in Sudan, Abdelazim Hasan, who filed his own case against Zain Telecom last week. Hasan told Reuters that the Khartoum District Court had ordered Zain to “immediately restore internet services to the country”. Zain Telecom is the largest operator in Sudan.

International bodies estimate losses caused by the blackout, which began on June 3, amount to more than one billion Dollars.

The near total loss of access for mobile and fixed line connections to the internet has improved slightly since June 20, from 2 to 10 percent, according to digital rights NGO NetBlocks.

The Director of the Postal and Communications Corporation, Mustafa Abdelhafiz, has promised to partially restore the Internet service for mobile phones during the next week to be limited to services in specific applications that do not include social media.

Staff of the telecommunication companies Zain, El Sudani, MTN, Kanar, and Huawei have taken part in vigils calling for a transition to a civilian-led government.

Political measures

Yesterday, a petition was prepared by the Sudanese Consumers Protection Association to sue telecommunications companies related to the internet blackout. The petition also says that “cutting Internet service is a violation of the normal rights of the consumer”.

The Secretary-General of the Association, Dr Yasir Mirghani, said “that the decision has negatively affected the citizens and their social and economic activities”.

Speaking at a press conference on the same day, El Sadig El Mahdi called on the military junta to lift the shutdown on the internet so that people have access to information.

Chips

Various activists told Radio Dabanga that internet connections via international roaming chips have been cut-off as well. They consider the suspension of the internet as “an attempt to isolate the Sudanese people from the world and a violation of the right to communicate”. According to reports, people are mainly using WiFi connections in hotels to upload information to the internet.

On June 10, the Transitional Military Council ordered the shut-down of the internet in the country for an indefinite period of time, claiming it forms a threat to national security.

 


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