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Saturday, December 03, 2022

Saudi critic’s bride calls on Justin Bieber to cancel F1 show

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Pop star Justin Bieber faces growing calls to cancel his concert in Saudi Arabia next month as murdered Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancée joined the chorus of voices on Sunday urging him not to perform at Formula Race Kingdom -1.

In an open letter published by The Washington Post, Hatice Cengiz urged the Canadian megastar to cancel his December 5 performance in the Red Sea city of Jeddah to “send a powerful message to the world that your name and talent will not be used to rebuild. the reputation of a regime that is killing its critics. ”

Bieber’s concert is the loudest performance scheduled for the Jeddah race, although other F1 concert performers include rapper A $ AP Rocky, DJs David Guetta and Tiesto, and singer Jason Derulo.

This is not the first time a pop star has faced pressure to refuse a concert in Saudi Arabia. Mariah Carey was the most famous performer to take the stage in Saudi Arabia after the assassination of Khashoggi by Saudi agents in Turkey in October 2018. She rejected calls for a boycott. show.

However, public pressure prompted Niki Minaj to cancel her on-stage performance at a concert in Jeddah in 2019, the Associated Press reported at the time. she wanted to show support for women’s rights, gay rights and free speech.

Khashoggi’s terrific murder in 2018 was carried out by members of a group of 15 Saudi Arabian government agents who were sent to Istanbul, where a writer and former government official was assigned to the Saudi Arabian consulate to obtain the documents required to marry Cengiz. She was waiting for him at the embassy, ​​but he never came out. His body was never found.

The assassination by agents working for the crown prince surprised the world and cast a shadow over Prince Mohammed, whose reputation never recovered. Prince Mohammed claimed that he did not know in advance about the operation that resulted in the murder of Khashoggi. US Intelligence Assessment However, promulgated under President Joe Biden, ruled that the crown prince approved the operation.

“Please know that your invitation to take part in the concert in Jeddah came directly from MBS, as the crown prince is known,” Cengiz wrote in her open letter to Bieber. “Nothing significant happens in Saudi Arabia without his consent, and certainly not such an important and striking event as this.”

Bieber’s concert in Saudi Arabia will take place shortly before he kicks off a world tour in February, which has been pushed back from 2020 due to the pandemic.

Since then, Saudi Arabia’s state sovereign wealth fund, run by Prince Mohammed, has acquired shares in Live Nation, the company that owns Ticketmaster and promotes concerts for Bieber and other big stars. As Live Nation’s shares plummeted last year during the COVID-19 quarantine and thousands of shows canceled, the State Investment Fund bought $ 500 million worth of shares in the affected company.

Public documents show that the Saudi Welfare Fund is currently the second largest institutional holder of Live Nation, with a stake of $ 1.4 billion.

Human Rights Watch also called on Bieber and other performers to withdraw from Formula 1 concerts in Saudi Arabia, saying the events are aimed at “washing the sport” by diverting attention and diverting attention from human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi youth are the main attendees of these concerts, enjoying the country’s newfound social change that allows for a mix of music and gender. The Kingdom’s General Directorate of Sports argues that sport is an instrument of social change. inside the kingdom.

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

At the time of Khashoggi’s assassination, the Crown Prince was praised for initiating social reforms transforming life of many inside the country. Khashoggi has written columns for The Washington Post, criticizing the crown prince’s audacious foreign policy moves while simultaneously crushing activists and perceived critics, including women’s rights activists, writers, clergymen and economists.

Saudi Arabia tried some of those involved in his murder, sentencing five to death. before delivering them from execution.

The Associated Press was informed about this by the bride of Khashoggi. she will continue to speak in hopes of giving a voice to those who remain in prison in Saudi Arabia for expressing their opinions.

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Follow Aya Batravi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ayaelb

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