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Jennifer Lopez apologizes for singing 'Happy Birthday' to Turkmenistan leader

By VERONICA LINARES, UPI.com   |   July 1, 2013 at 10:01 AM  |  Updated July 1, 2013 at 2:00 PM   |   Comments

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July 1 (UPI) -- Jennifer Lopez's team apologized in a statement after the star sang "Happy Birthday" to Turkmen leader Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow.

According to The Daily Mail, Lopez representatives said the star wouldn't have attended the event if she had known about the human rights accusations.

The statement added that Lopez "graciously obliged" to the last-minute request to sing "Happy Birthday" made by the company that sponsored her June 29 concert at the Caspian Sea resort of Nabran, Khachmaz.

Lopez, 43, reportedly changed into a a traditional Turkmen dress to sing "Happy birthday, Mr. President" to 56-year-old Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow.

Berdimuhamedow's dictatorship is ranked by Human Rights Watch as being "among the most repressive in the world," because it imposes "draconian restrictions on freedom of expression and association."

The singer's representatives told The Hollywood Reporter the concert "was not a government sponsored event or political in nature."

"The event was vetted by her representatives, had there been knowledge of human right issues of any kind, Jennifer would not have attended," they added.

Lopez's trip was organized by The China National Petroleum Corporation CNPC.

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