The Queen Pardons Alan Turing

Royal DecreeQueen Elizabeth II has issued a Christmas Eve pardon of Alan Turing. British Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said Turing deserved to be “remembered and recognised for his fantastic contribution to the war effort” and not for his 1952 criminal conviction for having a sexual relationship with another man. After the conviction, Turing was forced to undergo chemical castration. He eventually committed suicide in 1954 at age 41

“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conviction for homosexual activity, a sentence we would now consider unjust and discriminatory and which has now been repealed,” Grayling said. “A pardon from the Queen is a fitting tribute to an exceptional man.”

The Queen used the little known Royal Prerogative of Mercy to make the pardon. It has been only used three times since 1945. The effort to get a pardon for Turing gained momentum late last year when 37,000 people in the United Kingdom signed an online petition asking for the pardon. After initial resistance in parliament, a bill to grant the pardon had been moving toward passage. It was expected to get final approval in The House of Lords in two months.

Turing’s pardon is gaining media attention from around the world. Here are links to some of the news coverage:

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