Hilary Swank, Van Damme criticised over Kadyrov party

London: Actors Hilary Swank and Jean-claude Van Damme have come under fire from human rights groups for attending the birthday celebrations of Chechnya`s controversial President Ramzan Kadyrov.

The politician, who turned 35 on October 5, closed off central Grozny - the country`s capital - to host a lavish bash which saw a number of skyscrapers illuminated as fireworks were simultaneously set off, Contactmusic reported.

He also invited Oscar-winner Swank and action man Van Damme to watch violinist Vanessa Mae perform as part of his birthday party, and both wished him many happy returns.

However, the stars` attendance has infuriated activists who accuse Kadyrov of acts of brutality and torture against his own people.

"Ramzan Kadyrov is linked to a litany of horrific human rights abuses. It`s inappropriate for stars to get paid to party with him. It bolsters his image and legitimises a brutal leader and his regime. And getting paid to be part of such a lavish show in Chechnya trivialises the suffering of countless victims of human rights abuses there," a spokesperson for the Human Rights Watch organisation said.