The United States of America says it is troubled by the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court conviction and sentencing of musicians Viet Khang and Tran Vu Anh Binh on charges of “propagandizing against the state.”
In his remarks at Washinton DC, Deputy Spokesperson Mark C. Toner the sentencing of two musicians is the latest in a series of detentions and convictions in Vietnam against those seeking nothing more than the peaceful expression of their views.
“This latest example of the Vietnamese authorities restricting freedom of expression is inconsistent with international standards.” -Mr. Toner
With the worsening of the human rights situation in Vietnam, the United States urges the Vietnamese government to acknowledge and remedy this situation, including through the release of these musicians, and all prisoners of conscience.
Reports say the Vietnamese Court has sentenced Viet Khang to four years and Tran Vu Anh Binh to six years.
Both reportedly face house arrest following completion of their sentences.
The Court accused the musicians of posting songs on a website operated Vietnamese opposition group, Patriotic Youth.
Viet Khang, 34, has composed songs criticizing the government for not taking a more aggressive position against China in the potentially resource-rich South China Sea.
Binh, 37, is accused of writing a song that triggers nonviolent protest.
In September this year, Vietnam has sentenced three Vietnamese bloggers with harsh jail sentences on charges of anti-state propaganda.
Nguyen Van Hai was sentenced to 12 years in prison followed by five years of house arrest. Ta Phong Tan, a female blogger, was sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by five years of house arrest. And Phan Thanh Hai got 4 years in prison followed by three years of house arrest.
Reports say Vietnam has reputation as one of the world’s most restrictive countries for freedom of speech and the press.