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For human rights group, Kanye’s Kazakhstan gig ‘not so nice’


Kazakhstan. Put on the map by comedian Sacha Cohen’s Borat. And now by Kim Kardashian’s man Kanye West.  To twist the words of Borat, Kanye’s gig at a dictator’s wedding party was “not so nice!”


So says the Human Rights Foundation in a long and damning statement on Friday:


“While many of the outraged critics of Kanye West speak of ‘concerns’ about human rights in Kazakhstan, let’s put a few faces on this reality. In May 2013, the Kazakhstani government, several private security contractors, and a group of Italian law enforcement agents illegally arrested Kazakhstani citizen Alma Shalabayeva and her six-year-old daughter in Rome and summarily deported them to Kazakhstan on a private jet. They are the wife and daughter of former political prisoner Mukhtar Ablyazov, the Kazakhstani regime’s most vocal critic,” said Human Rights Fondation chairman Garry Kasparov.


“In July, the regime colluded with Ukrainian authorities to file an Interpol arrest warrant in France against Ablyazov, who now sits in a French prison awaiting extradition proceedings. And while all of this occurs, every newspaper, broadcaster, radio station, and journalist critical of the Kazakhstani regime has suffered an appalling crackdown in the past six months. This is the context of what is happening outside of the wedding celebration that Kanye headlined,” he said.


“While Kanye West blithely ignored human rights concerns by performing for Kazakhstan’s dictator of 22 years, the money paid to him was obtained as a product of graft and theft. Nursultan Nazarbayev, the self-proclaimed ‘Father of the Nation,’ has passed laws granting himself and his family immunity from any prosecution for criminal behavior. The Nazarbayev family has accumulated billions of dollars in ill-gotten wealth and have not been afraid to throw their weight around, whether by purchasing the services of Tony Blair and numerous members of his former cabinet, overpaying for the homes of British royalty in return for a visit from Prince Andrew, or by spending lavishly on real estate across the globe—such as the most expensive mansion in Switzerland. Meanwhile, they pressure or pay off foreign governments to make the lives of Kazakhstani exiles miserable,” said Human Rights Foundation president Thor Halvorssen.


Kanye gave a private performance last weekend at the wedding of the grandson of dictatorial president Nazarbayev. On Saturday, photographs surfaced of the singer getting out of a Mercedes Benz in front of the upscale Royal Tulip Hotel in the city of Almaty, where Nazarbayev’s grandson, Aisultan Nazarbayev, married Alima Boranbayeva, the daughter of a top executive at Kazakh state energy firm.






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