An open letter in the Washington Post from the woman who was engaged to slain reporter Jamal Khashoggi is urging Justin Bieber not to play a Dec. 5 show in the kingdom.
Bieber is set to perform in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah. He is the headliner among a group of artists performing as part of the Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix there.
Hatice Cengiz wrote an open letter headlined “Please, Justin Bieber, Don’t Perform in Saudi Arabia” that ran in the WaPo on Satuday. She urged the Canadian singer to cancel the performance 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.”
A US intelligence report implicated Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Khashoggi’s 2018 murder in Istanbul. The crown prince has denied any involvement. Khashoggi was a Washington Post columnist and critic of the kingdom’s regime.
“Do not sing for the murderers of my beloved Jamal,” Cengiz wrote. “Please speak out and condemn his killer, Mohammed bin Salman. Your voice will be heard by millions.”
She continued, “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.”
Other performers scheduled for the show include rapper A$AP Rocky, DJs David Guetta and Tiesto, and singer Jason Derulo. Human rights organizations have urged all to decline the show and speak out.
“Saudi Arabia has a history of using celebrities and major international events to deflect scrutiny from its pervasive abuses,” Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.