SCOTS DJ Calvin Harris has been slammed by human rights groups for agreeing to perform at a music festival in Saudi Arabia.

The Dumfries-born artist is set to take to the stage at the MDLBeast Soundstorm event in Riyadh in December.

Amnesty International UK criticised the move and called on the DJ to speak out about human rights abuses in the country.

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Rod Stewart has previously revealed that he turned down one of the biggest pay cheques of his career when he refused to perform in Saudi Arabia.

Harris's fortune is estimated to stand at £240 million.

The Scots DJ is set to headline the December 14 event, the fourth time the festival has gone ahead.

Pharrell Williams and David Guetta are also listed in the line-up, with around 600,000 people reportedly attending the 2022 event. 

The National: The Scots DJ has been criticised for agreeding to a gig in Saudi Arabia

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International UK’s head of nations and regions, said: “Saudi Arabia has an atrocious human rights record and is using glitzy, big-money cultural and sporting events to try to distract from this.

“Underneath the high-gloss entertainment spectacles the Saudi authorities have spent millions on, the much darker reality is of widespread torture, unfair trials, mass executions and a total crackdown on freedom of expression.

“Right now, Leeds University PhD student Salma al-Shebab is serving a 27-year jail sentence just for tweeting about women’s human rights.

“The people Calvin Harris will perform for in Saudi Arabia can’t freely speak out about the human rights situation, and we’d urge Harris to use his public platform to do exactly this.”

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Saudi Arabia face severe repression, with same-sex sexual activity illegal, and the death penalty a potential punishment. 

It is also illegal to change gender in Saudi Arabia and non-binary people are not legally recognised. 

It is illegal for same-sex couples to adopt children, and gay marriage is not legal either.

Human Rights Watch has said there have been "consistent reports of discrimination and violence" against LGBT people in the country. 

The National: Jordan Henderson

Many UK football players have been criticised for playing in the Saudi league, particularly former Liverpool player Jordan Henderson (above). 

A Human Rights Foundation (HRF) spokesperson said: “Calvin Harris has an unfortunate record of allowing Persian Gulf dictators to use him for their public relations stunts.

"His decision to perform at the MDLBeast Soundstorm festival in Saudi Arabia, particularly after facing backlash from gay rights organizations for his performance at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, shows his disregard for human rights abuses.

“HRF is deeply concerned with Harris’s decision to perform in Riyadh.

"This festival is organized by the General Entertainment Authority of Saudi Arabia as part of a massive public relations campaign by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to normalize his brutal dictatorship within pop culture.

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"This is happening even as MBS continues to imprison women’s rights activists, behead gay men, and crush any form of political dissent.

“The Saudi regime is notorious for using celebrities and athletes to whitewash its image, pouring vast amounts of money into sports and cultural events.

“But Harris has a good act to follow in choosing morals over money. Rock star Rod Stewart recently turned down the blood-stained money of the Saudi dictatorship to show solidarity with those living under oppression in Saudi Arabia.

“We urge celebrities to reject the efforts of tyrants to whitewash their images and to stand with those oppressed by authoritarian regimes.”

The National: Rod Stewart

Rocker Stewart (above), 78, told how he rejected £1m to play in Qatar, but his team declined to say how much he had been offered to play in Saudi Arabia.

It's understood that figure was "much higher".

“I’m grateful that I have a choice whether or not to perform in Saudi Arabia," Stewart said. 

"So many citizens there have extremely limited choices - women, the LGBT community, the press.

“I’d like my choice not to go to shine a light on the injustices there and ignite positive change.”