Hilary Swank and Jean-Claude Van Damme Celebrate Birthday of Chechen Warlord

Thursday, October 13, 2011
Hilary Swank at Kadyrov Party (AP Photo)
Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongman of Chechnya, enjoyed quite a birthday celebration last week that included singers, renowned musicians and Hollywood film stars Hilary Swank and Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Human rights organizations publicly chastized celebrities for attending the million-dollar extravaganza in the capital of Grozny, saying their appearance helps legitimize Kadyrov’s reign.
Stars who attended the party should return any money they were paid to participate, said Human Rights Watch (HRW).
“Ramzan Kadyrov is linked to a litany of horrific human rights abuses,” said HRW in a statement. “It’s inappropriate for stars to get paid to party with him. It bolsters his image and legitimizes a brutal leader and his regime. And getting paid to be part of such a lavish show in Chechnya trivializes the suffering of countless victims of human rights abuses there.”
Abuses under Kadyrov include abductions, torture and executions by law enforcement and security agencies. The leader favors strict enforcement of Islamic law and has praised Chechen men for attacking women dressed inappropriately.
Van Damme reportedly stood on stage at the party and said, “I love you Mr. Kadyrov, I love you all in my heart.”
Swank declared: “This is my first time in Grozny. I love to travel, I love to see the world, I love to see different cultures, so really, truly from me, this is a great honor to learn more about you and your country and what you’re building,” she said, adding “Happy birthday, Mr. President.”
Violinist Vanessa-Mae performed at the celebration.
The Hollywood Reporter wrote that stars are often paid in the six figures to attend such events, and they customarily receive transportation aboard private jets and accommodations at premiere hotels.
-Noel Brinkerhoff

Star-Studded Bash For Chechen Warlord (by Amanda Walker, Sky News) 


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