Internet still disrupted in Sudan despite court order: Group

AP , Thursday 11 Nov 2021

Internet access remains largely disrupted in Sudan since last month's military takeover, despite a court order for providers to restore services, an advocacy group said Thursday.

Sudan protests
File Photo: People chant slogans during a protest in Khartoum, Sudan, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. AP

According to a tweet by NetBlocks, the disruption is now in its eighteenth day and represents an ``ongoing impediment'' to democracy and human rights. A Sudanese court ruled on Wednesday, ordering the country's three main telecommunications providers to restore internet access. However, authorities have not shown any sign yet of carrying out that order.

Internet disruptions have become common in Sudan since nationwide protests erupted in late 2018, leading to the military's removal of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. In an attempt at the time to quell protests, authorities disrupted social media for 68 days, according to the London-based NetBlocks.

On Oct. 25, the Sudanese military seized power, dissolving the country's transitional government and detaining more than 100 government officials and political leaders, along with a large number of protesters and activists. Almost all still remain in custody. The army also placed the country's prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, under house arrest at his residence in the capital of Khartoum.

Since the takeover, at least 14 anti-military takeover protesters have been killed due to excessive force used by the country's security forces, according to Sudanese doctors and the United Nations. The military takeover has been condemned by the U.N., the United States and the European Union which have been urging the generals to restore a military-civilian transitional government. Mediation efforts are ongoing to resolve the crisis.

On Wednesday, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that U.N. Special Representative for Sudan Volker Perthes met the previous day with the head of the Sudanese military, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan.

In the talks, the special representative urged for `a return to the transitional partnership`` and appealed on the military ``to exercise restraint and to take de-escalation measures, including freeing all those people who have been detained and the prime minister who remains under house detention,`` said Dujarric.

Dujarric also said the U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres spoke with the ousted premier, Hamdok, earlier in the week.

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