Justin Bieber is facing growing calls to cancel his concert in Saudi Arabia next month, as the fiancée of slain Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi joined a chorus of voices on Sunday urging him not to perform at the kingdom's Formula One race.
Justin Bieber has been urged to cancel his upcoming performance in Saudi Arabia next month by the fiancée of murdered journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. The Canadian pop star is among several stars set to play at the kingdom's first Formula One Grand Prix in Jeddah.
However, Hatice Cengiz wrote an open letter to Bieber urging him to “send a powerful message” by rejecting the gig and pulling out. Hatice’ late husband, who had been considered a prominent critic of the Saudi regime, was murdered at its consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
Arriving to collect documents for the couple’s wedding, the journalist's body was dismembered as Ms Cengiz waited outside.
“Do not sing for the murderers of my beloved Jamal,” Ms Cengiz wrote in the letter, published in the Washington Post. As a major profile around the world, Ms Cengiz asked the singing star to take this “unique opportunity” and show that his “name and talent will not be used to restore the reputation of a regime that kills its critics”.
Set to headline on December 5th, Bieber will be joining artists including A$AP Rocky, David Guetta and Jason Derulo. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch has also called on Bieber and the other performers to pull out of the F1 concerts. It believes that the events are aimed at diverting attention from Saudi Arabia's human rights record.
According to a US intelligence report, Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman, effectively the kingdom's ruler, had approved Khashoggi's assassination. However, these claims have been vehemently denied by the crown prince, who claims he had no involvement in the murder.
The 59-year-old journalist had once been an adviser to the Saudi government with connections to the royal family. However, he fell out of favour and placed himself into self-imposed exile in the US in 2017.
Bieber is not the first pop star to face pressure to pull out of a concert in Saudi Arabia, with Nicki Minaj cancelling a scheduled performance in Jeddah, citing her support for women and LGBT rights.