- Posted October 30, 2012 by
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Two Vietnamese songwriters were sentenced Tuesday to a total of ten years
Tran Vu Anh Binh, known as Hoang Nhat Thong, 37 and Vo Minh Tri, known as Viet Khang, 34, received sentences of 6 years and 4 years, respectively, with two additional years of house arrest .
The songwriters were charged with spreading anti-government propaganda under Article 88 of the country’s criminal code. They were founding members of the Vietnamese Patriot Youth, an organization not recognized as an official body by the government. Chuacuuthe.com website reported that an estimated 100 security officials blocked access to the court and the signal jammers were used in the Court House. Amnesty International Condemns the Sentence for Two Vietnamese songwriters :
“This is a ludicrous way to treat people just for writing songs. These men are prisoners of conscience, detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression through their songs and non-violent activities, and should be freed,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Viet Nam.
“The Vietnamese authorities must abide by their constitutional and international obligations to respect their people’s right to freedom of expression, including through music and other media.”
Human Rights Watch condemned the verdict as part of Vietnam's most severe crackdown on freedom of expression, and called for an immediate response from the international community.
“There is a very disturbing trend of repression against those who peacefully voice opinions the Vietnamese authorities do not like,” said Abbott.
On 14 October 2012, 20-year old college student Nguyen Phuong Uyen was arrested after 10 police stormed into her room . She is reportedly accused of being involved in distributing anti-China leaflets.
Vietnam has stepped up its campaign to clamp down on the Internet. Last month the same court sentenced three bloggers for producing "anti-state propaganda" under Article 88 of the criminal code. Blogger Nguyen Van Hai, alias Dieu Cay, was sentenced to 12 years in prison and Ta Phong Tan was given 10 years, while Phan Thanh Hai got 4 years after a trial lasting just a few hours.