The Oscar winner says she didn't know the event was to honor Ramzan Kadyrov, who is accused of abuses

By Tim Nudd
Updated October 13, 2011 09:20 AM
Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty

Hilary Swank has expressed profound regret for attending a concert in Chechnya on Oct. 5 that was essentially a huge birthday party for president Ramzan Kadyrov, who is accused of human rights violations.

After Human Rights Watch criticized her decision to fly in for the show, the two-time Oscar winner, 37, gave a statement to the Associated Press that read: “I deeply regret attending this event. If I had a full understanding of what this event was apparently intended to be, I would never have gone.”

Swank says the invitation said nothing about Kadyrov’s 35th birthday. Human-rights groups have accused the Chechen leader of torture, abductions and killings.

During the show, Swank said she was impressed by the Chechen government’s “passion to make peace and to make something beautiful.”

Jean Claude Van Damme and the British violinist Vanessa Mae also attended the concert. They have also been criticized but have yet to comment.