Hatice Cengiz, fiancée of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi, wrote an open letter addressing pop star Justin Bieber, asking him to cancel his upcoming concert in Saudi Arabia.
Her letter, published by The Washington Post, read: “That’s why 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.”
The letter comes ahead of Bieber’s December 5 performance in Saudi Arabia, where he is set to headline the Formula One Race along with artists like A$AP Rocky, David Guetta, Tiesto, and Jason Derulo in Jeddah’s inaugural Grand Prix.
“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.”
In 2018, Saudi government agents murdered Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he was on the way to pick up documents for his upcoming wedding to Cengiz. A U.S. intelligence report implicated Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the murder, but the Saudi Foreign Ministry fervently denied the notion, calling it “false and unacceptable.”
Cengiz is among a number of people and organizations calling for artists to refrain from performing.
Human Rights Watch director Minky Worden condemned the event, telling The Guardian that “sporting bodies like Formula One and the FIA cannot ignore the fact they and fans are being used for sportswashing.”
The organization released an official statement and said, “Saudi Arabia has a history of using celebrities and major international events to deflect scrutiny from its pervasive abuses.”
Additionally, the Human Rights Foundation has sent out letters to all artists slated to perform in a bid to convince them to cancel.
“We are writing to urgently inform you of the human rights crisis in Saudi Arabia; to explain the role that the regime of MBS [Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman] has played in violating the rights of tens of millions of Saudis; to ask that you consider the unfortunate implications of your engagement with the brutal dictatorship of MBS; and to respectfully request that, in light of your status as a global personality, you take this opportunity to positively influence human rights policy in Saudi Arabia by canceling your appearance, as a symbol of solidarity with the ongoing suffering of the Saudi people,” HRF CEO Garry Kasparov and chariman Thor Halvorssen wrote.