Vietnamese Singer Released From Prison Four Months Early
RFA - 05/22/2017
A Vietnamese Catholic jailed since 2011 for singing politically sensitive songs
was released this week from prison four months before finishing his six-year
term, sources said.
Tran Vu Anh Binh was freed on May 21 and
returned to his home in Ho Chi Minh City, Binh told RFA’s Vietnamese Service in
“I feel elated, but now I am like a fish that
has been on the shore for a long time,” he said. “It’s back in the water now,
but it certainly can’t swim as fast as it would like.”
Arrested on Sept. 19, 2011, Binh was sentenced
in October 2012 to six years in jail for producing “propaganda against the
state” after allegedly contributing to a blog run by Patriot Youth, an overseas
political opposition group.
Several popular singers in Vietnam have
performed music by Binh, who is a choir member with the Catholic Redemptorist
Order and has written songs protesting against the imprisonment of dissidents.
The year spent in jail before Binh’s trial and
sentencing was counted as part of his sentence, and he was freed four months
ahead of his scheduled release.
During his time in prison, Binh tried not to
think about his eventual release or believe anything he was told by prison
authorities, he said.
“Instead, I always prayed and entrusted
everything to God,” he said.
Because he was reluctant to disturb his family
or other relatives, he asked his family not to come get him up following his
release, he said.
“People from the Catholic choir also rented a
car to come pick me up, but my family told them I didn’t want them to do this,
and so they stopped.”
Hoping to resume his involvement in music, Binh
said he looks forward to singing again in his church’s choir.
“Father Le Quang Uy now introduces me to
everyone by saying, ‘Binh is a member of the choir, having just served a prison
term under the communists.”
“Please pray for me so that now I don't forget
the shared goals of the Vietnamese people,” Binh said.
“I am afraid I may become distracted, weakened
Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service.
Translated by Emily Peyman. Written in English by Richard Finney.