MOSCOW – An international human rights watchdog lambasted an Oscar-winning actress and other Western celebrities on Wednesday for attending a concert held on the birthday of Chechnya’s Kremlin-backed leader, who has been accused of grave rights abuses and spending taxpayers’ money on his eccentric hobbies.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch said that American actress Hilary Swank, Belgian actor Jean Claude Van Damme and British violinist Vanessa Mae attended the concert in the Chechen capital, Grozny. The Oct. 5 show was held at a police-cordoned stage on Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s 35th birthday.
Human Rights Watch urged the artists to “avoid legitimizing people like” Kadyrov, who has been accused by rights groups of having orchestrated abductions, extrajudicial killings and the enforcement of sharia law in Chechnya, a Russian republic. (AP)