Uzbek Dictator's Daughter Sparks Controversy at Cannes AIDS Gala

The presence of Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of Uzbekistan's dictatorial President Islam Karimov sparked controversy at a star-studded AIDS fund-raiser at the Cannes Film Festival, AFP reported. Last week the sponsor of the gala, the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) was showered with protests from concerned Uzbek and international NGOs who have been campaigning on behalf of Maxim Popov, a jailed HIV/AIDS educator in Uzbekistan.

Concerned at what they saw as unwarranted association with Uzbekistan's abusive government, activists asked the Foundation for Aids Research (amfAR) to cut ties with Karimova, currently Uzbekistan's ambassador to Spain. Mick Jagger, Jennifer Lopez, Russell Crowe, Patti Smith, Mary J. Blige and many other stars attended the May 20 dinner and auction hosted by Alan Cumming.

The Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) issued a letter to amfAR on the eve of the event:

Reporters Without Borders, an international organization for the defense of journalists, is astonished to note the presence among you at this 7th annual event of Gulnara Karimova. The organization recognizes the evening’s valid and admirable character, but questions the appropriateness of the participation of the daughter of the Uzbek president, Islam Karimov, central Asia’s “outstanding” dictator.

Commenting on the RSF statement, AmfAR chief executive officer Kevin Robert Frost said

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Uzbek Dictator's Daughter Sparks Controversy at Cannes AIDS Gala

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