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Middle East

Don’t sing for the Saudis, Justin

Justin Bieber is due to perform in Jeddah next month. Ashraf Salah Eldin/EyeEm/Getty Images

A little more than three years ago, my fiancé, journalist Jamal Khashoggi, walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to pick up some documents for our wedding, says Hatice Cengiz in The Washington Post. He never returned. “He was instead murdered inside the consulate by operatives acting on the orders of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.” There are no doubts about the circumstances of his murder – the UN has called it an “international crime” for which Saudi Arabia is “responsible” and the US intelligence community has placed the blame on MBS.

Which brings me to Justin Bieber. The 27-year-old pop star has agreed to perform at a glitzy concert in the Saudi port of Jeddah next month. If you see this, Justin, “I am writing to you with a plea: cancel”. I know you are going for your fans there, but an invitation to sing in Saudi Arabia is an invitation from MBS – “the executioner of my fiancé”. Last summer Bieber told his 205 million Instagram followers that he wanted to use his platform “to remind people that racism is evil and it is ingrained in our culture”. It is an honourable commitment. But I wonder if he could use his platform to support the cause of human rights in Saudi Arabia? So, Justin, “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.”