July 9, 2019 / 2:38 PM / a month ago

Some internet service restored in Sudan after court ruling

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Some internet users in Sudan were back online on Tuesday after a court ordered telecoms companies to end a weeks-long blackout ordered by the authorities to contain political protests.

Sudan’s military rulers said they sought the internet blackout because of security concerns, after security forces carried out a deadly raid on a protest sit-in in Khartoum on June 3.

The blackout resulted in a “near-total loss of access” for mobile and fixed line connections for most ordinary users, according to digital rights NGO NetBlocks.

Users had hoped the internet cut would end after the military council and civilian opposition announced a deal on Friday for a three-year power sharing arrangement.

But the connections for MTN and Sudani, two of the main providers, were only restored after a court ruling on Tuesday, said Abdel-Adheem Hassan, a lawyer who had launched lawsuits challenging the internet cut.

It was unclear when services from the third main operator, Zain, would be restored.

NetBlocks estimated that the disruption had been costing Sudan more than $10 million a day.

United Nations human rights experts on Monday described the shutdown, which has affected humanitarian operations in the country, as a clear violation of international human rights law.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz in Khartoum, Lena Masri in Cairo and Nafisa Eltahir in Dubai; editing by Aidan Lewis, William Maclean

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