Justin Bieber’s scheduled concert in Saudi Arabia next month has been called off by the fiancee of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Canadian singer is scheduled to perform at Jeddah’s first Formula One Grand Prix.
Hatice Cengiz, on the other hand, penned an open letter to Bieber, “imploring him to send a forceful statement by withdrawing.”
Khashoggi, a vocal critic of Saudi Arabia’s administration, was assassinated in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. He’d gone there to pick up wedding documents for the couple. As Ms Cengiz waited outside, the journalist’s body was dismembered.
Do not sing for my darling Jamal’s murderers, Ms Cengiz wrote in the letter, which was published in the Washington Post.
She said Justin Bieber had a “rare opportunity to demonstrate that his brand and talent will not be exploited to rehabilitate the reputation of a regime that murders its critics.”
Bieber will perform at the Formula One race on December 5th alongside A$AP Rocky, David Guetta, and Jason Derulo. Human Rights Watch has also called on Bieber and the other singers to cancel the F1 concerts, claiming that the events are intended to draw attention away from Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
According to a US intelligence report, Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, approved Khashoggi’s assassination. The crown prince, on the other hand, has denied any connection.
The 59-year-old writer had previously served as a government consultant and was close to the Saudi royal family, but he fell out of favour and moved to the United States in 2017.
Bieber isn’t the first pop star to be pressured into cancelling a performance in Saudi Arabia. Nicki Minaj, a rapper, postponed a planned performance in Jeddah in 2019, claiming her support for women and LGBT rights.