Turing pardoned

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Alan Turing, age 16, in 1928, from his school photograph | 14128

Computer pioneer and second world war code breaker Alan Turing has been given a posthumous royal pardon which addresses his 1952 conviction for gross indencency, an offence at the time, for which he was punished by being chemically castrated. The pardon was granted under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy after a request by Justice Minister Chris Grayling, and follows a year long campaign to clear his name, and a petition which was signed by more than 37,000 people.

A genius, Turing’s work had a huge impact on Allied efforts to read German Naval messages enciphered with the Enigma machine. He also contributed some more fundamental work on code breaking that was only released to public scrutiny in April 2012.

“Turing deserves to be remembered and recognised for his fantastic contribution to the war effort and his legacy to science. A pardon from the Queen is a fitting tribute to an exceptional man,” said Justice Minister Chris Grayling.

The pardon takes effect today, Christmas Eve 2013.

A pardon is only normally granted under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy when the person is innocent of the offence and where a request has been made by someone with a vested interest such as a family member. Dr. Turing’s pardon is historic because neither of those conditions has been met.

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