- Associated Press - Friday, September 21, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - Yoko Ono and Amnesty International awarded the Russian punk band Pussy Riot this year’s LennonOno grant for peace.

Ono presented the award to Pyotr Verzilov, husband of Nadia Tolokonnikova _ one of three imprisoned members of Pussy Riot sentenced in August to two years in prison for performing an irreverent song mocking Russian President Vladimir Putin inside Moscow’s main cathedral.

“It’s a terrible thing that all three girls have been jailed for not doing anything wrong. They were just standing for freedom of speech,” Ono said at a ceremony in New York City.

Verzilov thanked Ono, saying the grant increased international pressure on Russian authorities to release the women.

The LennonOno Grant for Peace is given every two years to honor Yoko Ono’s late husband John Lennon’s dedication to peace and human rights.


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