Alan Turing | News | United Kingdom

Alan Turing Likely To Receive Pardon This Year

British Parliament will very likely issue a pardon to pioneering mathematician Alan Turing - almost 60 years after his death.

AlanturingThe Guardian reports:

The government signalled on Friday that it is prepared to support a backbench bill that would pardon Turing, who died from cyanide poisoning at the age of 41 in 1954 after he was subjected to "chemical castration".

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, a government whip, told peers that the government would table the third reading of the Alan Turing (statutory pardon) bill at the end of October if no amendments are made. "If nobody tables an amendment to this bill, its supporters can be assured that it will have speedy passage to the House of Commons," Ahmad said.

The announcement marks a change of heart by the government, which declined last year to grant pardons to the 49,000 gay men, now dead, who were convicted under the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act. They include Oscar Wilde.

Ahmad told peers: "Alan Turing himself believed that homosexual activity would be made legal by a royal commission. In fact, appropriately, it was parliament which decriminalised the activity for which he was convicted. The government are very aware of the calls to pardon Turing, given his outstanding achievements, and have great sympathy with this objective … That is why the government believe it is right that parliament should be free to respond to this bill in whatever way its conscience dictates and in whatever way it so wills."

In the past, many notable have called for a posthumous pardon for Turing, including Stephen Hawking.

Watch a BBC video of the Parliamentary debate of the pardon last week, AFTER THE JUMP.

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  1. He should definitely be pardoned. I believe the world would be different without his contributions during the war.

    Posted by: Adam | Jul 21, 2013 3:14:08 PM

  2. It's coming true, darling.

    Posted by: barney | Jul 21, 2013 3:29:19 PM

  3. Not sure about Britain, but on this country a "pardon" is given to a guilty person. Turing was guilty of nothing; he was harassed and tortured to death by his own government. This is like "pardoning" someone for violating Jim Crow laws, or anti-Jewish laws in Germany. There should be a formal apology and reparation for the fact the law ever existed in the first place, not a "pardon."

    Posted by: Hank | Jul 21, 2013 3:41:36 PM

  4. Has anyone noticed just how strikingly handsome Turing was?

    Posted by: atomic | Jul 21, 2013 3:43:47 PM

  5. It took them long enough.

    The sadistic and criminal persecution of Turing and thousands of others is that what christer and islamist thugs want for all of us.

    Every living person prosecuted under those laws and their descendants should be compensated.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Jul 21, 2013 4:13:20 PM

  6. The Christian Taliban will probably have a fit over this. They should bring these old hate laws up when they speak to the civil rights of all people today. There are still a lot of hateful laws on the books.

    Posted by: bructer | Jul 21, 2013 5:01:28 PM

  7. The government should also move his body and that of Oscar Wilde to Westminster Abbey where a lot of famous Brits were buried. There seem to be no known gay people buried there except may be Newton who is probably gay, not openly of course.

    Posted by: simon | Jul 21, 2013 6:21:43 PM

  8. His own mother didn't believe he committed suicide. Profilers don't think so, either. The government just didn't want it known publicly that in a very real sense, the war was cut short in favor of the Allies as a result of the cleverness of a convicted homosexual. At the time of his death Turing was conducting experiments involving metal-plating, which explains the presence of toxic chemicals including cyanide. His mind was very sharp and his calendar schedule was full despite the emasculating effects of the "chemical castration" (forced estrogen injections) on his body. England just didn't want the world to know they had to count on a pervert to end a world war. A pardon is an insult. A global apology - in behalf of all who realize their lives improved the moment they learned how to use a computer is in order, to be delivered in the next United Nations General Assembly.

    Posted by: Manny Espinola | Jul 21, 2013 11:48:10 PM

  9. Turing was given an official "apology" in September of 2009 by then British PM Gordon Brown however Turing had, in fact, been "convicted" for "homosexual acts" in 1952 and this is what the pardon is about. A pardon would officially clear Turing's name. Of course moving his remains to a place of honour such as Westminster Abbey would be the final step in trying to make amends for his brutal treatment and what many now believe was his murder.

    Posted by: Bill Michael | Jul 22, 2013 4:28:31 AM

  10. Britain saw itself as the successor of the Roman Empire and tried to live up to the roman ideals of masculinity. This meant a kind of churlish bisexuality. They saw Turing's actions as a slap in the face to the British establishment. If he had simply gotten married everything would have worked out. They found his behavior extremely insulting. Oscar Wilde got in trouble when he decided he might leave his wife for a younger man. Turing also got into trouble because the UK was on the fence about fighting the cold war and wile they needed Turing for that fight, they didn't want to alienate either the US or the USSR too much. The US would consider him a security risk and the USSR would have considered him a serious threat. Baring him from govt. work was a way to appease both sides.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 22, 2013 11:24:43 AM

  11. @Hank and Bill Michael: would 'exonerated' be a better word?

    Posted by: Zeta | Jul 22, 2013 11:28:11 AM

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