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Dictators And Celebrities

Everyone from Hollywood movie stars to famous pop singers have performed or partied for dictators and their children in various places around the world -- usually for large sums of money. Whether its Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov or the grandson of Kazakhstan's ruler-for-life Nursultan Nazarbaev, various celebrities have accepted cash to sing, dance, or party with ruthless rulers with nasty human-rights records. Most of the "naive" and "unaware" stars apologize -- after being publicly criticized -- and claim to donate their appearance money to charity.

British musician Vanessa-Mae performs during a ceremony to mark the 35th birthday of Ramzan Kadyrov in the Chechen capital, Grozny, in 2011. She acknowledged receiving money for her appearance.
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British musician Vanessa-Mae performs during a ceremony to mark the 35th birthday of Ramzan Kadyrov in the Chechen capital, Grozny, in 2011. She acknowledged receiving money for her appearance.

U.S. actress Hilary Swank attends a ceremony to mark the 35th birthday of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov in Grozny on October 5, 2011. After public criticism of her appearance, Swank apologized for going to Chechnya, said she was unaware of the situation in the Russian republic, and said she would donate her appearance fee to charity.
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U.S. actress Hilary Swank attends a ceremony to mark the 35th birthday of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov in Grozny on October 5, 2011. After public criticism of her appearance, Swank apologized for going to Chechnya, said she was unaware of the situation in the Russian republic, and said she would donate her appearance fee to charity.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (left) shares a joke with soccer legend Diego Maradona during an exhibition soccer match at the opening of the Akhmed-Hadzhi Kadyrov Stadium in Grozny on May 11, 2011.
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Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (left) shares a joke with soccer legend Diego Maradona during an exhibition soccer match at the opening of the Akhmed-Hadzhi Kadyrov Stadium in Grozny on May 11, 2011.

U.S. pop diva Jennifer Lopez performs at Avaza, near the Turkmen city of Turkmenbashi on June 29, 2013. J.Lo sang "Happy Birthday" to President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, who was described by Human Rights Watch in January as the leader of "one of the world's most repressive" regimes and owner of a notoriously dismal human rights record.
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U.S. pop diva Jennifer Lopez performs at Avaza, near the Turkmen city of Turkmenbashi on June 29, 2013. J.Lo sang "Happy Birthday" to President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, who was described by Human Rights Watch in January as the leader of "one of the world's most repressive" regimes and owner of a notoriously dismal human rights record.

U.S. pop singer Jennifer Lopez performs in Baku, Azerbaijan, during the opening ceremony of the soccer Women's World Cup for under-17-year-olds on September 22, 2012.
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U.S. pop singer Jennifer Lopez performs in Baku, Azerbaijan, during the opening ceremony of the soccer Women's World Cup for under-17-year-olds on September 22, 2012.

U.S. rapper Kanye West performed at the wedding of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev's grandson on August 31, 2013, in Almaty. His appearance there has been sharply criticized in the U.S. press. (photo of West performing in New York City in 2012)
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U.S. rapper Kanye West performed at the wedding of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev's grandson on August 31, 2013, in Almaty. His appearance there has been sharply criticized in the U.S. press. (photo of West performing in New York City in 2012)

British pop star Sting traveled to Uzbekistan to perform in 2009 for Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of Uzbek President Islam Karimov. But in 2011, Sting canceled a concert in Kazakhstan to support striking oil workers in Zhanaozen. (Sting shown performing in New York in 2009)
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British pop star Sting traveled to Uzbekistan to perform in 2009 for Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of Uzbek President Islam Karimov. But in 2011, Sting canceled a concert in Kazakhstan to support striking oil workers in Zhanaozen. (Sting shown performing in New York in 2009)

U.S. pop singer Beyonce performed at a 2009 New Year's Eve party on the Caribbean island of St. Barts along with singer Usher for Mutassim Qaddafi, the son of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. Beyonce says she donated the $1 million she received to Haitian earthquake relief. (Beyonce shown at a concert in Greece in 2009)
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U.S. pop singer Beyonce performed at a 2009 New Year's Eve party on the Caribbean island of St. Barts along with singer Usher for Mutassim Qaddafi, the son of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. Beyonce says she donated the $1 million she received to Haitian earthquake relief. (Beyonce shown at a concert in Greece in 2009)

U.S. singer Mariah Carey also performed for the Qaddafi clan in 2008 and said afterward that she felt "horrible and embarrassed." She pledged to donate the money she earned to charity. (Carey shown singing in New York City in 2008)
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U.S. singer Mariah Carey also performed for the Qaddafi clan in 2008 and said afterward that she felt "horrible and embarrassed." She pledged to donate the money she earned to charity. (Carey shown singing in New York City in 2008)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) and former NBA star Dennis Rodman chat during a basketball game in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, in February 2013. Rodman has become the most high-profile American to meet the young North Korean dictator. Rodman made a controversial return trip to Pyongyang on September 3 to "hang out" with the basketball-mad Kim, who Rodman says is "awesome" and a "good friend."
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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) and former NBA star Dennis Rodman chat during a basketball game in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, in February 2013. Rodman has become the most high-profile American to meet the young North Korean dictator. Rodman made a controversial return trip to Pyongyang on September 3 to "hang out" with the basketball-mad Kim, who Rodman says is "awesome" and a "good friend."

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