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Sting defends decision to perform for Uzbekistan's president

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London (ANI): British singer Sting has defended his decision to perform for Uzbekistan"s president, insisting that calling off the show would have been a “pointless gesture". The former Police member had staged a private concert last year for President Islam Karimov, who has been slammed by officials at the United Nations, who accused him of “institutionalised, systematic, and rampant" torture in his regime.

Sting, 58, was criticised by Britain"s former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, who branded the singer “stupid" to agree to the gig, for which he is rumoured to have been paid 2 million pounds. “It appears Sting is a hypocrite. He"s incredibly stupid to be unaware of what sort of regime it is. His human rights and environmental activism seem to have flown out the window," the Daily Express quoted Murray as having said.

But Sting, who has branded President Karimov “medieval" and “tyrannical", has no regrets about the private show. “I played in Uzbekistan a few months ago. The concert was organised by the president"s daughter and I believe sponsored by Unicef," he said in a statement. “I am well aware of the Uzbek president"s appalling reputation in the field of human rights as well as the environment. I made the decision to play there in spite of that.

“I have come to believe that cultural boycotts are not only pointless gestures, they are counter-productive, where proscribed states are further robbed of the open commerce of ideas and art and as a result become even more closed, paranoid and insular. “I seriously doubt whether the President of Uzbekistan cares in the slightest whether artists like myself come to play in his country, he is hermetically sealed in his own medieval, tyrannical mindset," he added.

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