Alan Turing, the man who helped save the world from the Nazis, and the creator of the computer, has finally been pardoned for the crime of fancying blokes.
According to the Guardian, the Queen has stepped in and given the computer pioneer and codebreaker Alan Turing a posthumous royal pardon. The move overturns his 1952 conviction for homosexuality for which he was punished by being chemically castrated.
It also meant that he lost his security clearance and had to stop the code-cracking work that proved vital to the Allies in World War II. He committed suicide by taking cyanide.
The pardon was granted under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy after a request by Justice Minister Chris Grayling. This is because the attempts to pardon Turing actually were unsupported by British law. Homosexuality was a crime in the UK at the time and he was a convicted law breaker.
Grayling said that the research Turing carried out during the war at Bletchley Park undoubtedly shortened the conflict and saved thousands of lives. It also helped accelerate Allied efforts to read German Naval messages enciphered with the Enigma machine.
Some of Turing’s more fundamental work on codebreaking did not see the light of day until April 2012.
His later life was overshadowed by his conviction for homosexual activity, a sentence we would now consider unjust and discriminatory and which has now been repealed, Grayling said.
So far the only thing that those who wanted to posthumously rehabilitate him have managed to get from the government was an official apology from Scottish Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He said the way Turing was persecuted over his homosexuality was “appalling”. Turing would have been 101 years old this year. Gordon Brown is 62.