Government says ‘no’ to pardon for Alan Turing

Bletchley Park
Bletchley Park

THE Government has rejected calls for Bletchley Park war hero Alan Turing to be pardoned.

Mr Turing was convicted of gross indecency relating to his homosexuality, which was then illegal, in 1952. He committed suicide two years later.

During the Second World War, he had been a key member of the Bletchley Park team that had cracked the German Enigma code and helped Britain win the war.

In 2009, then Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued an official apology for his treatment, labelling it ‘utterly unfair’.

And an online petition calling for his pardon has already collected more than 23,000 signatures.

But last Thursday, Justice Minister Lord McNally dismissed the idea, saying Mr Turing had been properly convicted of what had been a criminal offence at the time.

He said: “The question of granting a posthumous pardon to Mr Turing was considered by the previous Government in 2009... a posthumous pardon was not considered appropriate as Alan Turing was properly convicted of what at the time was a criminal offence. He would have known that his offence was against the law and that he would be prosecuted.

“It is tragic that Alan Turing was convicted of an offence which now seems both cruel and absurd -particularly poignant given his outstanding contribution to the war effort.”