Zimbabwe court says internet shutdown illegal as more civilians detained

HARARE, ZIMBABWE (JANUARY 21, 2019) (REUTERS) – Zimbabwe’s government exceeded its mandate in ordering an internet blackout during civilian protests last week, a court ruled on Monday (January 21), as authorities pressed on with rounding up opposition figures blamed for the unrest.

In his interim ruling, High Court told mobile operators to immediately and unconditionally resume full services to all subscribers.

The sporadic blackout, ordered by Security Minister Owen Ncube, began on Tuesday (January 15) following the start of protests against a rise in fuel prices that turned violent and the critics of President Emmeson Mnangagwa’s government had accused it of shutting off the internet to prevent a security clampdown being broadcast to the world.

There was no immediate comment from the internet firms, or from the government’s lawyer on whether it would appeal the judgement.

On Monday police arrested Japhet Moyo, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, which called for a stay-at-home strike last week in conjunction with the fuel protest.

He faced subversion charges, his lawyer said, while the organisation’s president was in hiding.

Police say three people died during the unrest, but lawyers and human rights groups point to evidence suggesting at least a dozen were killed, while scores were treated for gunshot wounds and hundreds have been held on public order charges.

As many businesses, including banks, shops and government offices re-opened in Harare on Monday, the government introduced subsidies for bus travel after public taxis increased prices in response to the fuel price hike.

Associated Links

  • Geography of Africa
  • Africa
  • Republics
  • Zimbabwe

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