Actress Swank 'regrets' attending Chechen concert
- Photo: Musa Sadulayev/Invision/AP1 of 11
- Photo: Musa Sadulayev/Invision/AP2 of 11
- Photo: Orchon/Retna Digital3 of 11
- Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP4 of 11
- Photo: Kika Press/PacificCoastNews.com5 of 11
- Photo: ST1/HSS/WENN6 of 11
- Photo: Patrick Hoffmann/WENN7 of 11
- Photo: INB/Ivan Nikolo/WENN8 of 11
- Photo: Fox Searchlight/Promotional9 of 11
- Photo: Splash News10 of 11
MOSCOW (AP) -- Hollywood celebrity Hilary Swank said 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.
The two-time Oscar winner said that she was unaware of the disappearances, house torchings and extrajudicial killings reportedly orchestrated by Ramzan Kadyrov in the southern Russian republic.
PHOTOS: Memorable Celeb Apologies
"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 — along with Belgian actor Jean Claude Van Damme, singer Seal 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, a city that has been in the process of restoration after widespread destruction from two wars between Chechen separatists and Moscow since 1994.
The celebrities — as well as dozens of Russian politicians and pop stars — showed up to congratulate Kadyrov from a stage arranged between a gigantic mosque and a newly built business center. 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.
Under Kadyrov's leadership, Chechnya has become relatively quiet, and the insurgent violence has largely migrated to neighboring republics of the volatile Caucasus region. Kadyrov is a former separatist rebel who has boasted of killing his first Russian soldier at age 15. He switched his alliance to the federal side at the start of the second Chechen war in 1999.
PHOTOS: Celebrity Protesters
A string of Kadyrov's critics and political rivals have been brutally murdered in recent years in Russia, Austria and Dubai. Kadyrov has consistently denied involvement in any of the killings, saying the accusations are fabricated to blacken his name.
Swank won Oscars for her roles in "Boys Don't Cry" and "Million Dollar Baby." Her screen credits also include "Freedom Writers," "P.S. I Love You" and "Amelia."
Get out the vote
Fergie, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Heidi Klum all get an F on this week's Fashion Offenders.Watch Video »
Diva Double Date
Beyonce and Alicia Keys double date with their famous hubbies on today's Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Where Are They?
See what the cast of "American Beauty" is up to today.Watch Video »
J.Lo's Mini Me
Jennifer Lopez shares an adorable photo of her look-alike daughter, plus more celebritots on social media on today's Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Prince Harry, Jessica Alba and more stars who threw out the first pitch at baseball games.Watch Video »
Sofia Vergara poses in a revealing neon bikini while her "Modern Family" castmates hit the beach in Australia on Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
Like us on Facebook?
From Crowd Ignite