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Jennifer Lopez apologizes for singing 'Happy Birthday' to Turkmenistan's leader (VIDEO)

The singer's publicist said she would not have performed at a birthday party for Turkmenistan's president if she had known about his human rights record.

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J Lo: Soldier of Love (JAIME REINA/AFP/Getty Images)

Jennifer Lopez issued an apology after singing a controversial "Happy Birthday" to the president of Turkmenistan at a private party.

Lopez performed for President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow — who stands accused of widespread human rights abuses — at the southern resort of Avaza on Saturday.

She took to the stage to perform her hits then changed into a long, traditional Turkmen outfit to sing "Happy Birthday, Mr President," reports the Guardian.

"It was our pleasure," Lopez said from the stage. "And we wish you the very happiest birthday."

A publicist for the singer said that the performance was arranged as part of a concert sponsored by China's state-run oil company, China National Petroleum Corporation, and "was not a government-sponsored event or political in nature."

"The event was vetted by her representatives, had there been knowledge of human rights issues of any kind, Jennifer would not have attended," the statement said. 

Human Rights Watch calls Turkmenistan "one of the world's most repressive countries."

The organization wrote a letter to Berdymukhamedov in 2011 accusing the president of violating the law and "international human rights obligations" by evicting Turkmen citizens from their homes and ordering them demolished as part of his administration's "urban renewal project." 

It's not the first controversial performance for Lopez, who also serenaded an Uzbek businessman at his wedding in Ukraine, reportedly in exchange for $1m, reports the Guardian.

She was also reportedly paid $1.4 million to sing for the Azeri oligarch Telman Ismailov.

Watch a clip of Jennifer Lopez performing in Turkmenistan:

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/the-canadian-press/130630/jennifer-lopez-apologizes-happy-birthday-turkmenistans-leade