We’re backing Turing pardon

Bletchley Park
Bletchley Park

ALAN Turing was a lot of things – hero, genius, computer whiz, and a criminally prosecuted homosexual.

While in this day and age we choose to remember him by the former, it’s unfortunate that the latter ‘attribute’ still hangs over his legacy.

An online petition urging the government to clear his name currently boasts more than 30,000 signatures.

And we at the Citizen are throwing our weight behind the campaign to officially pardon Mr Turing and get the last stain on his reputation removed.

Turing was one of the key figures at Bletchley Park during the Second World War and led the team which eventually cracked the Enigma code which many attribute as the turning point in the Second World War.

But after the war, his life began to fall apart.

In 1952, Turing was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ with another man, punished by chemical castration, before he committed suicide two years later, aged just 41.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown formally apologised to Turing’s family in 2009, saying “His treatment was of course utterly unfair, and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him.

“Alan and the many thousands of other gay men who were convicted, as he was convicted, under homophobic laws, were treated terribly.”

And two weeks ago, Justice Minister Lord McNally echoed the former PM’s sentiments, but also said the Government was powerless to pass a pardon.

New Bletchley Park Trust chief executive Iain Standen declined to comment on the campaign to clear Alan Turing’s name.

But he added: “Alan Turing was a brilliant mind but unfortunately circumstances at the time mean he was taken from us early.

“Just imagine what might have been had he lived a full life and put that mind to other projects.”

> To sign the online petition, click here