Zimbabwe High Court court rules internet shutdown illegal

Published Jan 21, 2019


Harare - The Zimbabwean government's orders to shut down the

internet in a bid to stifle protests last week were illegal, a rights

group said on Monday.

The shutdowns came after a week of violent mass protests against

economic hardship, in which at least 12 people were killed and dozens

injured, according to rights groups.

Justice Owen Tagu at the High Court in Harare ruled on Monday that

the shutdowns, ordered as part of a wider move aimed at containing

the anti-government protests, were illegal, Zimbabwe Lawyers for

Human Rights (ZLHR) spokesman Kumbirai Mafunda told dpa. 

A first internet blackout was ordered on Tuesday. The internet was

restored on Wednesday but shut down again on Friday.

The internet was restored on Friday afternoon, but access to social

media remained blocked.

"We hope the government will now lift the ban on the social media,"

Mafunda said.

Also on Monday, police confirmed that Zimbabwe Congress of Trade

Unions secretary-general Japhet Moyo has been charged with subversion

for his role in organizing the protests.

Moyo is expected to appear in court later this week, Zimbabwe Lawyers

for Human Rights said.

Moyo's arrest follows that of prominent anti-government critic Evan

Mawarire last Wednesday.

Mawarire has also been charged with subversion, which can result in

up to 20 years imprisonment.