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,"
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.