Celebs Slammed for Partying With Chechen Prez

Human Rights Watch wants them to give money back
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2011 8:57 AM CDT

(Newser) – Note to celebrities: We know swanky multimillion-dollar parties are probably fun and you get paid a lot to attend them, but it's probably best to skip those held in honor of political leaders accused of kidnappings, torture, and extrajudicial killings. Hilary Swank and Jean Claude Van Damme did not take that advice, which did not win them points with Human Rights Watch. The actors attended a party and concert last week to celebrate the 35th birthday of Chechnya's leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, the AP reports.

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Human Rights Watch tells the Hollywood Reporter that activists warned Swank’s people about Kadyrov’s less-than-savory reputation before the event, but she attended nonetheless. She reportedly said she was honored to be there and wished the leader a happy birthday, while Van Damme stood up and said, “I love you Mr. Kadyrov.” Others invited to the lavish event, which was held on a floating river stage and included fireworks and acrobatic performances, included Kevin Costner, Eva Mendes, and Shakira, none of whom attended. (Read more Hilary Swank stories.)

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