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Sudan’s internet blackout persists despite Khartoum court orders

November 16 - 2021 KHARTOUM
A billboard in Khartoum protesting the internet blackout following #SudanCoup (Social media)
A billboard in Khartoum protesting the internet blackout following #SudanCoup (Social media)

In a third ruling regarding restoration of internet services in Sudan, the Khartoum District Court on Sunday rejected the reasons provided by telecommunications company Zain, regarding its failure to comply with the court’s order of November 9, to end the blockade that has shut down most data traffic in the country since the military coup led by Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan seized power on October 25. Sudan’s Consumer Protection Association says it will demand arrest warrants for managers of companies who defy the order.

Judge Tarig Abdellateef ruled on Sunday the original order to restore the Internet service to all subscribers remains valid. The telecommunications companies have failed to restore internet services on the pretext that the court’s second ruling issued on Thursday did not include the word “immediately”.

The Director-General of Sudan’s Communications Authority, El Sadig Jamaleldin, issued an administrative decision last week, in which he confirmed the validity of the decision to cut off the Internet until further notice, on the pretext that “the decision was issued by the Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan Armed Forces under the State of Emergency. It is related to the protection of national security and is above all other decisions.”

Warrants of arrest

The head of Sudan’s Consumer Protection Association, Yasir Mirghani, says that should the internet service not be restored for all users, the association will resort to demanding arrest warrants for the managers of those companies that defy the court order.

The US Agency for Development (USAID) says in a statement that blocking the Internet for the 21st day is “an explicit violation of the rights of citizens”, pointing out that the blockade and has disrupted livelihoods amid difficult economic conditions, and prevented Sudanese inside and outside Sudan from communicating.

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