A petition signed by over 21,000 people which asked the UK Government to grant a pardon to Alan Turing has been declined.
This year is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing, who invented the computer and saved Blighty from the Germans. However, after the war the homosexual Turing was convicted of gross indecency because he was a homosexual and underwent chemical castration before he killed himself. Before he died his security clearance was then withdrawn and he was unable to continue his work for GCHQ, Britain’s intelligence agency.
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has formally apologised to Turing’s ghost for the way the British treated him while he was alive.
However moves to get a full pardon for Turing have failed because being a homosexuality was still a crime during the 1950s.
According to iProgrammer, Lord McNally stated that a posthumous pardon was not considered appropriate as Alan Turing was properly convicted of what at the time was a criminal offence.
That is not to say that McNally was unsympathetic. He added that it was 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.
“At the time the law required a prosecution and, as such, long-standing policy has been to accept that such convictions took place and, rather than trying to alter the historical context and to put right what cannot be put right, ensure instead that we never again return to those times,” McNally wrote.