October 4, 2020
MK Benjamin Gantz
Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister
For decades, Vietnam has been governed by a dictatorial regime of the “Communist Party of Vietnam”(CPV). Citizens who dare to criticize the CPV are attacked by security forces, arrested, severely tortured, some prosecuted for draconian criminal offenses, some executed during torture and some executed in legal proceedings; Some citizens are held in unofficial detentions that the regime refuses to admit, so they are defined as “disappeared”; Those who are not arrested but suspected of hostility to the regime are under constant surveillance and severe restrictions are placed on their freedom of occupation and freedom of movement.
He was indicted for “spreading propaganda against the state” under section 117 of the Vietnamese Penal Code, due to critical posts about the regime on Facebook (Tinh denied that the Facebook page was his). Despite his clear knowledge of the price he might pay Tinh used to express to his students his views on human rights violations and the severe harm to the environment caused by the communist regime, as well as the violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty by China with the CPV turning a blind eye. Tinh even presented in his classes music composed by dissidents of the regime.
On November 15, 2019, Tinh was convicted in an expedited legal proceeding that did not meet
international standards. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison and another 5 years on probation. On April 20, 2020, the Supreme Court in the capital Hanoi rejected Tinh’s appeal.
In October 2018, the Israeli Ministry of Defense and the Vietnamese Ministry of Defense signed a security understanding agreement, and representatives of the Israeli defense establishment are meeting on a regular basis with senior CPV officials. According to evidence and various reports in Vietnam in recent years the State of Israel has been a major supplier of weapons and surveillance systems to Vietnam.
We, the undersigned educators in music and musicology studies throughout the State of Israel, ask you to use the close ties between the Israeli Ministry of Defense and the communist regime in Vietnam and request the immediate release of our colleague, political detainee Nguyen Nang Tinh.
Music and freedom are inextricably linked, as illustrated by Leonard Bernstein on December 25, 1989, when he conducted Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony as part of the celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the “Ode to Joy,” Bernstein changed Friedrich Schiller’s original lyrics, replacing the word joy with the word freedom.
Tinh is also entitled to freedom, and we ask you to convey this message without delay to your
counterparts in Vietnam.
Prof. Veronika Cohen
Dr. Michal Hefer
Dr. Yoel Greenberg
Prof. Judith Cohen
Prof. Ruth HaCohen Pinczower
Prof. Emer. Menachem Zur
Dr. Elisheva Rigbi
Prof. Emer. Naphtali Wgner
Prof. Emer. Shmuel Magen
Dr. Aline Gabay
Dr. Dochy Lichtensztajn
Prof. Amnon Wolman
Prof. Edwin Seroussi
Dr. Michael Lukin
Prof. Benjamin Oren
The original Hebrew is posted here: https://www.maariv.co.il/news/politics/Article-793729
(Human Rights Defender Translation)