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Monday, 22 July 2013 10:18

UK will pardon Turing

Written by Nick Farrell

Government says it will not oppose bill

The UK government said it will not oppose a bill to pardon the inventor of the computer of the heinous crime of being gay. Alan Turing saved the UK by inventing a modern computer to crack the German Enigma cipher. The breakthrough means that the the Allied forces often knew exactly what the Germans were doing and saved countless lifes.

However in 1952 he was convicted of 'gross indecency,' which basically was what you were charged with if you were arrested for being gay. He was chemically castrated and had all his security clearance removed. He committed suicide two years later. There had been moves to get a pardon. However Ministers had previously argued that they would not be able to go any further than the apology given by Gordon Brown in 2009, because “gross indecency”, which Turing was found guilty of in 1952, was at the time a criminal offence.

Now Government Whip Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said the coalition would not stand in the way of a Bill brought by Liberal Democrat peer Lord Sharkey, which offers Turing a full posthumous parliamentary pardon. Lord Ahmad said: “Alan Turing himself believed that homosexual activity would be made legal by a Royal Commission.

"The Government therefore is very aware of the cause to pardon Turing given his outstanding achievement and has great sympathy with the objective of the Bill,” he said. Lord Sharkey who was taught mathematics at university by Turing's close friend Robin Gandy, said: "The Government knows that Turing was a hero and a very great man…. they acknowledge that he was cruelly treated.”

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Nick Farrell

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