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Justin Bieber urged to cancel Saudi Arabia performance by fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi

The fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi has urged Bieber "to send a powerful message to the world"

By Patrick Clarke

Justin Bieber Poses For A Press Shot
Bieber is scheduled to perform for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix next month (Photo: Press)

The fiancee of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian journalist who was murdered in 2018, has urged Justin Bieber to cancel a planned live performance in the country.

Khashoggi entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 to obtain documents related to his planned marriage the following day, but was never seen leaving. His fiancee Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish scholar and activist, was waiting outside.

Turkish officials found evidence that Khashoggi had been killed and dismembered and that chemical experts had tampered with evidence. In June, the United Nations released a 101-page report holding the State of Saudi Arabia responsible for the “premeditated extrajudicial execution” of Khashoggi.

In February, the US released an intelligence report implicating Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Khashoggi’s murder. The crown prince denies any involvement.

Now, with Bieber planning a performance in the country on December 5, Cengiz has written to the Washington Post – one of Khashoggi’s former employers – asking him to reconsider.

“I am writing to you with a plea: Cancel your Dec. 5 performance in Saudi Arabia This is a unique opportunity to send a powerful message to the world that your name and talent will not be used to restore the reputation of a regime that kills its critics,” Cengiz said.

Bieber is scheduled to perform as Saudi Arabia hosts the Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah.

“Please know that your invitation to participate in a concert in Jiddah comes directly from MBS, as the crown prince is known. Nothing of significance happens in Saudi Arabia without his consent, and certainly not an event as important and flashy as this. Your face is even featured on the event’s website with his — the executioner of my fiance, Jamal,” Cengiz wrote.

“I know that you are dedicated to your fans and are traveling to Saudi Arabia on their behalf. However, there are hundreds of Saudis, of all ages, backgrounds and religious beliefs, languishing in prison, punished for merely expressing their opposition to the merciless Saudi dictatorship of MBS.”

Cengiz went on to highlight Bieber’s support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and his statement last year: “I want to use the platform I have to remind people that racism is evil and it is ingrained in our culture.”

“Considering this very honorable commitment that you have made to take a stand against injustice, please use your platform now to support the cause of human rights in Saudi Arabia,” she said.

“Do not sing for the murderers of my beloved Jamal. Please speak out and condemn his killer, Mohammed bin Salman. Your voice will be heard by millions.

“If you refuse to be a pawn of MBS, your message will be loud and clear: I do not perform for dictators. I choose justice and freedom over money.”

A$AP Rocky, Tiesto, David Guetta and Jason Derulo are also due to perform at the Saudi event, which has already drawn criticism.

The Human Rights Foundation have also called on Bieber to cancel the show “as a symbol of solidarity with the ongoing suffering of the Saudi people.” The nonprofit’s chairman Garry Kasparov and CEO Thor Halvorssen shared a letter with representatives for Bieber as well as the other musicians involved.