J. Lo comes under fire for performing at dictator's birthday party

Jennifer Lopez performs at the Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night Awards XIX in Phoenix, Arizona March 23, 2013.

Credits: REUTERS/Ralph Freso


Jennifer Lopez didn't let the fact that Turkmenistan is one of the world’s most brutal dictatorships discourage her from shaking her famous booty there Saturday night.

According to Gawker and inserbia.com, J Lo performed at a lavish 56th birthday celebration for Turkmenistan leader Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov at a $2 billion dollar Caspian Sea resort.

Human Rights Watch, one of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights, claims "unknown numbers of people languish in the country’s notoriously abusive prisons on what appear to be politically motivated charges."

The organization says the Central Asian nation places "draconian restrictions on freedom of expression and association, which authorities enforce by threatening, harassing, or imprisoning those who dare to question its policies, however modestly."

After the concert, her choreographer J.R. Taylor tweeted: "Great show @JLo and @JLodancers Forever raising that bar!!! Thank You #Turkmenistan your hospitality is unparalleled!"

After coming under fire for her show, Lopez's publicist issued a statement Sunday saying, "Had there been knowledge of human rights issues any kind, Jennifer would not have attended."

The publicist added the party was a last-minute request by the party's sponsor, the China National

Petroleum Corporation, which completed a pipeline from Turkmenistan to China in 2009.

The singer/actor joins a list of stars who've performed for dictators over the years.

Mariah Carey, Beyonce and Canada's Nelly Furtado have taken as much as a million dollars to play private shows for the family of Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi.

And Sting was criticized for playing a concert in Uzbekistan three years back that was organized by the daughter of dictator Islam Karimov.

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