Nicki Minaj cancels her concert at a Saudi Arabian music festival

Nicki Minaj performs at the 2018 BET Awards in Los Angeles

The kingdom has faced intense worldwide scrutiny over its human rights record since last year's killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul and the ongoing trial of women activists.

Minaj gave a statement to The Associated Press on Tuesday explaining why she had withdrawn from the festival. Other artists that remain scheduled to perform at the event include Liam Payne and Steve Aoki.

The "Megatron" rapper was originally supposed to headline the festival on July 18. Minaj, who took part in World Pride festivities in her hometown of New York City last month to celebrate LGBTQ rights, will be performing in a country where homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment or death.

Nicki Minaj attends the NYFW Spring/Summer 2019 Kick-Off Party at The Pool on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, in NY.

It wasn't until 2017 that women were allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, under orders given by bin Salman.

Nicki Minaj has cancelled her performance in Saudi Arabia due to pressure from human rights activists.

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On Tuesday, the New York-based organization praised Minaj's decision to not perform at the concert. That's a stark change from when Saudi morality police would raid establishments that played loud music.

Last month, a United Nations expert investigating the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi said there was "credible evidence" the crown prince was responsible for the killing, which had sparked global criticism of his regime.

The spectacle would have been unthinkable until recently in the ultra-conservative kingdom where religious police used to enforce strict gender segregation and scolded women for not covering their hair. Can women go to the concert without a man?

Despite lifting a ban on women driving, the kingdom has locked up and tortured several of the same women's rights defenders who lobbied for that right, including prominent activist Loujain al-Hathloul.

After much controversy surrounding her upcoming show in Saudi Arabia, Nicki Minaj has made a decision to back out of the Jeddah World Fest.

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