Hilary Swank, Van Damme criticised over Kadyrov party
Press Trust of India
October 12, 2011 10:16 IST
Actors Jean-Claude Van Damme and Hilary Swank have come under fire from human rights groups for attending Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov's lavish October 5 birthday celebration in exchange for money.
Kadyrov, who turned 35 on October 5, closed off central Grozny - the country's capital - to host a lavish bash which saw a number of skyscrapers illuminated as fireworks were simultaneously set off, Contactmusic reported.
He also invited Oscar-winner Swank and action man Van Damme to watch violinist Vanessa Mae perform as part of his birthday party, and both wished him many happy returns.
However, the stars' attendance has infuriated activists who accuse Kadyrov of acts of brutality and torture against his own people.
"Ramzan Kadyrov is linked to a litany of horrific human rights abuses. It's inappropriate for stars to get paid to party with him. It bolsters his image and legitimises a brutal leader and his regime. And getting paid to be part of such a lavish show in Chechnya trivialises the suffering of countless victims of human rights abuses there," a spokesperson for the Human Rights Watch organisation said.