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Rihanna and Shakira Asked by Human Rights Activists to Reconsider Azerbaijan Concert

October 6, 2012, 4:17 am GMT

Amnesty International and Sing for Democracy send a joint plea, asking Riri and Shakira to think twice before performing in the country due to the serious issues of human rights and freedom of speech.



Ahead of their upcoming concert in Azerbaijan, Rihanna and Shakira received a letter each from Amnesty International and Sing for Democracy. Before deciding to move forward with their plan to perform, they were asked by the two non-profit organizations to take into consideration the human right abuses inflicted on the people in the country.

"Stadiums may cheer for internationally renowned recording artists like Rihanna and Shakira, but citizens within the European country do not enjoy such freedom of expression and are often persecuted when attempting to speak out," they said in a press release. "Today, many Azerbaijani journalists, bloggers and political activists have been arrested and persecuted multiple times."

They cited "the spurious criminal case against photo-journalist Mehman Huseynov on trumped up hooliganism charges" as an example. They concluded, "Amnesty International believes that the Azerbaijani government should afford all artists, journalists, activists and ordinary citizens the right to express themselves freely without fear of reprisal. We hope that you share our belief."

The two singers are scheduled to perform in Baku during the current FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup 2012. They haven't given immediate responses to the letter. Riri herself recently hyped up the upcoming gig in an enthusiastic tweet, "Baku!!!!! I'm here!!!! I can't believe this is really happening!!"

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