Hilary Swank has issued a statement saying she “deeply regrets” visiting a concert held on the birthday of the Kremlin-backed Chechen leader, who is accused of torture, abductions and killings by human rights groups.
Swank said that she was unaware of the disappearances, house torchings and extra-judicial killings reportedly orchestrated by Ramzan Kadyrov in the southern Russian republic.
“I deeply regret attending this event,” Swank said in a written message to The Associated Press. “If I had a full understanding of what this event was apparently intended to be, I would never have gone.”
Swank issued the message after the Human Rights Watch criticized her, actor Jean Claude Van Damme and British violinist Vanessa Mae for attending a show that, it says, “trivializes the suffering of countless victims of human rights abuses.”
On Kadyrov’s 35th birthday on Oct. 5, his government organized a lavish concert in Chechnya’s provincial capital, Grozny, that has been restored after being flattened during two wars between Chechen separatists and Moscow since 1994. The celebrities showed up to congratulate Kadyrov.
During the birthday show, Swank said that she had been taken by the Chechen government’s “passion to make peace and to make something beautiful.” She claimed in her apology that her invitation to the concert made no mention of Kadyrov’s birthday.
What do you think about Swank attending the concert? Is not knowing an excuse?