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Home News Lara Fabian cancels Uzbek concert in torture row

Lara Fabian cancels Uzbek concert in torture row

Published on 24/10/2013

Singing star Lara Fabian announced Thursday the cancellation of a concert in Uzbekistan, shocked to discover she was being used as a "shop-window" for the regime in Tashkent, which stands accused of torture and other rights abuses.

“I have just learned… that the cultural festival in Tashkent at which I was due to sing was run by the daughter of the president,” Fabian, a UNICEF ambassador, said on her Facebook page, in reference to Islam Karimov.

“My immediate reaction was to write to my team in the countries of the east to pass on the message that, under such conditions, I did not want to appear, and so I cancelled,” said the Belgian-Italian soprano.

Karimov, 75, has ruled the energy-rich Central Asian state since 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

His regime was labelled on Wednesday by French anti-torture activists Acat as “one of the most repressive in the world”.

The festival was started in 2006 by Gulnara Karimova, the Uzbek leader’s eldest daughter who is pushing her status as a pop star and fashion designer as part of efforts to promote her country and her family’s leadership.

Fabian, who also holds a Canadian passport, said she was “profoundly shocked to read ‘Lara Fabian, the latest shop-window for the torturing Uzbek regime’,” insisting she would never support regimes that flout basic human rights.

The 43-year-old singer, who has sold millions of records worldwide, said there was a difference between appearing in a country known for such abuses, and signing up for events directly controlled by those responsible.