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NEW YORK, June 30 (Itar-Tass) - U.S. pop star Jennifer Lopez wouldn't have performed at a birthday party of Turkmenistan’s leader Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov if she had known there were human rights issues in that country, her representative said on Sunday.
The singer and actress performed in the former Soviet republic on Saturday night. A statement released on Sunday by her publicist said the event was hosted by the China National Petroleum Corporation, which does business in Turkmenistan. The event was "not political in nature" was not "government sponsored," the representative said. Meanwhile, according to the mass media, Lopez earned about one million U.S. dollars from her performance. The singer’s representative explained the “Happy Birthday” song as "a last minute 'birthday greeting' request prior to Jennifer taking the stage."
On Saturday, the non-profit Human Rights Foundation heavily criticized Lopez's appearance at the celebration. “Lopez obviously has the right to earn a living performing for the dictator of her choice and his circle of cronies, but her actions utterly destroy the carefully-crafted message she has cultivated with her prior involvement with Amnesty International’s programs in Mexico aimed at curbing violence against women,” HRF president Thor Halvorssen said in a statement.
However, Lopez’s participation in Berdymukhanedov’s birthday party was announced beforehand. Among other guest stars were Russian pop singers Philipp Kirkorov, Sati Kazanova and Reflex group, and Ani Lorak of Ukraine, Mustafa Sandal of Turkey, Nancy Ajram of Lebanon, and others.