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HANOI: A Vietnamese court jailed two renowned musicians for up to six years for anti-state propaganda, one of their lawyers said yesterday, a decision rights groups branded an “outrageous” muzzling of free speech.
Viet Khang, whose real name is Vo Minh Tri, was given a four-year jail term while Tran Vu Anh Binh, 37 was handed a six-year sentence, lawyer Tran Vu Hai said after a short trial in Ho Chi Minh City.
The court ordered the pair to serve a further two years under house arrest once they are released from jail, Hai said, adding that the musicians had admitted links to a banned political group but had “no political intention”.
The court did not provide details of their supposed crimes when contacted by the reporters.
But Khang, 34, is widely known for song lyrics which condemn a police crackdown on anti-China activists and touch on other social justice issues.
Several of Binh’s songs -- including one attributed to him that rails against the imprisonment of dissidents -- have also been performed by other singers in the communist nation.
Hai said that a request to play the songs in court was turned down by the judge.
Reports said the two were arrested in late 2011 following a government crackdown on increasingly vociferous anti-China movements.