A court in Ho Chi Minh City sentenced Vo Minh Tri, also known as Viet Khang, and Tran Vu Anh Binh to four years and six years in prison, respectively.
A court in Vietnam has ordered two musicians jailed for posting songs on the Internet seen as “propagandizing against the state,” the latest action by the government there to suppress expression of political views.
A court in Ho Chi Minh City sentenced Vo Minh Tri, also known as Viet Khang, and Tran Vu Anh Binh to four years and six years in prison, respectively, following a one day trial on October 30. Their music, some of which deals with government intimidation of its critics and praises the courage of dissidents, was posted on the video-sharing Web site YouTube. The two men denied being political activists, but were arrested for investigation in April 2012 and held for many months before their trial. Both face house arrest following completion of their sentences.
The Vietnamese government tightly controls newspapers and broadcast media, and as the number of Internet users has quickly increased – now estimated to total more than 30% of the country’s nearly 90 million people – the government appears to be stepping up efforts to stifle Internet postings seen as undermining its authority. In September, three bloggers were sentenced to between four and 12 years in prison on charges similar to those lodged against the musicians.
Viet Khang and Tran Vu Anh Binh are guilty of nothing more than the peaceful expression of their views. The Vietnamese government’s repeated efforts to restrict freedom of expression are inconsistent with international standards. Given the recent worsening of the human rights situation in Vietnam, the United States urges the government to acknowledge and remedy this situation, including through release of these musicians and all prisoners of conscience, as well as through adherence to its international human rights obligations.