Saudi critic’s fiancee urges Justin Bieber to cancel F1 show

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The fiancee of slain Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi has called on pop star Justin Bieber to cancel his concert in Saudi Arabia next month.

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Pop star Justin Bieber is facing increasing calls to cancel his concert in Saudi Arabia next month as the fiancee of slain Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi joined a group of voices on Sunday and urged him not to perform in the state’s Formula One. Caste.

In an open letter published by The Washington Post, Hatice Cengiz urged the Canadian megastar to cancel her December 5 performance in the Red Sea city of Jeddah in order to “send a powerful message to the world that your name and talent should be respected.” Will not be used to restore “the reputation of a regime that kills its critics.”

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Bieber’s concert is the most prominent performance scheduled for the race in Jiddah, although other F1 concerts include rappers A$ Rocky, DJs David Guetta and Tiesto, and singer Jason Derulo.

This is not the first time a pop star has faced pressure to pull out of a concert in Saudi Arabia. Mariah Carey was the biggest performer on stage in Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents in Turkey in October 2018. He rejected calls to boycott the show.

Public pressure, however, prompted Nicki Minaj to cancel her appearance on stage at a concert in Jidda in 2019, told The Associated Press at the time when she stood for women’s rights, gay rights and freedom of expression. Wanted to show support.

The surprise killing of Khashoggi in 2018 was carried out by members of a team of 15 Saudi government agents who were deported to Istanbul, where the author and former government spokesman asked the Saudi consulate for documents needed to marry Cengiz. was appointed in He waited for her outside the consulate, but he never went out. His body was never found.

“Please know that your invitation to attend a concert in Jidda comes directly from MBS, as the Crown Prince is known,” Cengiz wrote in his open letter to Bieber. “Nothing important happens in Saudi Arabia without their consent, and certainly not such an important and fascinating event.”

Bieber’s concert in Saudi Arabia comes shortly before he begins a world tour in February that was rescheduled from 2020 due to the pandemic.

Since that time, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned sovereign wealth fund – run by Prince Mohammed – has scooped up shares in Live Nation, which owns Ticketmaster and promotes concerts for Bieber and other major stars. Is. As Live Nation’s shares plunged last year during the COVID-19 lockdown and thousands of shows were cancelled, public investment funds bought $500 million worth of shares in the battered company.

Public filings show that the Saudi wealth fund is now the second largest institutional holder in Live Nation, with a stake of about $1.4 billion.

Human Rights Watch has called on Bieber and other artists to pull out of F1 concerts in Saudi Arabia, saying the events are aimed at “sportwashing” the attention away from Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and scrutiny.

Saudi youth take part in these music festivals mainly, enjoying the country’s new social changes that allow music and gender mixing. The State General Sports Authority argues that sport is an instrument of social change within the state.

Next month’s F1 race will be the first time Saudi Arabia will host a major sporting event, although the kingdom has hosted lesser-known Formula-E races in previous years in an effort to raise the country’s profile as a tourist destination.

At the time of Khashoggi’s assassination, the crown prince was being praised for initiating social reforms that changed the lives of many within the country. Khashoggi was writing a column for The Washington Post criticizing the Crown Prince’s foreign policy moves as well as cracking down on activists and alleged critics, including women’s rights activists, writers, clerics and economists.

Saudi Arabia prosecuted some of those involved in his murder, sentenced five to death before executing them.

Khashoggi’s fiancee has told The Associated Press that she will continue to speak in the hopes of giving those imprisoned in Saudi Arabia a voice to express their opinion.


Aya Batravi on Twitter . follow on


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