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John Lennon Peace Grant To Go To Jailed Russian Group

John & Yoko
(Brenda Chase/Getty Images)

Yoko Ono and Amnesty International have announced that members of the jailed Russian group Pussy Riot are among the winners of the 2012 Lennon Ono Grant for Peace. Rolling Stone reported that the members “will be awarded an unspecified grant” during today’s (September 21st) ceremony in New York City. While some members of the group fled Russia, three group members remain imprisoned and are appealing their two-year sentence for hooliganism after a demonstration in a church where they burned a poster of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Ono will be on hand on October 9th in Iceland to salute the other recipients of the biennial Lennon Ono Grant for Peace — Rachel Corrie, John Perkins, Christopher Hitchens, and an “unidentified peace activist.”

Pete Townshend, who was friendly with Lennon, says that he felt that Lennon’s late-’60s peace campaign was well intentioned, but ultimately naive: “God, I have to be very careful here, because I’m good friends with Yoko and one of her great defenders. I don’t want to get into trouble with her, or with Sean (Lennon), or Julian (Lennon), who I’m also very friendly with. But I think sometimes John Lennon got it wrong. That’s what I think. Y’know, I think there’s a difference between peace and stupidity, y’know? And I think that pacifism as a banner is a lovely idea but y’know, when somebody comes to burn your house down, you have to do something.”

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