alan turing pardon
Alan Turing was an extraordinary man, whose life was cruelly cut short by the way he was treated for being gay. But his story is just one of many thousands of men who were similarly persecuted for their sexual orientation, and it is time that the Government officially acknowledges that every single prosecution was unjust.
Turing committed suicide in 1954 - cyanide poisoning from an apple he had deliberately contaminated - widely seen as the result of his conviction in 1952 of indecency (Turing was gay) and the punitive course of chemical castration he was inflicted with as punishment for his 'crime.'
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Turing was in fact initially arrested when he reported one of his lovers to the police for breaking into his house and burgling it. The police in turn found out about the sexual affair, and instead of prosecuting the thief, arrested Turing for gross indecency with another male. Turing played his violin for the detectives and served them wine. His statement left no doubt about his guilt...
I have this week written to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, urging a new inquiry into the death of the scientist Alan Turing, who has been finally granted a royal pardon for his 1952 conviction for homosexual relations. Turing is generally believed to have been committed suicide following his conviction and chemical castration. However, the original inquest into his death was perfunctory and inadequate. A new inquiry is long overdue, even if only to dispel any doubts about the true cause of his death - including speculation that he was murdered by the security services.
In his short lifetime, Turing's profound achievements brought him all too little recognition. A pardon would be a powerful symbol, and another boost to his burgeoning public reputation. Yet while the coming debate is important, there are also other more concrete things that can be done to ensure Turing and his work receive adequate public recognition.
Alan Turing, the Second World War codebreaker widely regarded as the father of modern computing, may not have committed suicide