Hilary Swank 'regrets' attending Chechen concert

The Associated Press, Thursday, October 13, 2011, 12:15am (PDT)

MOSCOW (AP) -- Hollywood celebrity Hilary Swank says she "deeply regrets" visiting a concert held on the Kremlin-backed Chechen leader's birthday.

The two-time Oscar winner said in a message received Thursday that she was unaware of abductions, extrajudicial killings and other grave abuses Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov orchestrated in the region, according to respected human rights groups and survivors.

On Kadyrov's 35th birthday his government organized a lavish concert in Chechnya's provincial capital, Grozny.

Several Western celebrities showed up, including Swank, Belgian actor Jean-Claude Van Damme and British violinist Vanessa Mae.

Kadyrov is known for spending millions on race horses and stars for his soccer team, while the southern Russian republic he heads remains plagued by poverty and unemployment.

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