The UK government is preparing to issue a long-awaited pardon to World War II hero and computing pioneer Alan Turing.
Multiple reports confirm that government whip Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon has advanced a parliamentary bill which would grant Turing a full pardon for his 1952 conviction on gross indecency charges for homosexuality. Turing would commit suicide two years later.
Famed for his work at the Bletchley Park facility, Turing spearheaded the codebreaking operation, which would allow analysts to crack the notorious German Enigma cipher. The effort included the creation of Bombe, an electronic system considered to be a precursor to the first computers.
In cracking Enigma, the Allies were able to gain vital intelligence in the European theatre and Turing's work is credited with saving countless lives.
Despite his status as a national hero, Turing was later prosecuted under laws of the day that criminalised homosexuality. Before his death he was subjected to “chemical castration” hormone treatments.
While Turing is now memorialised with multiple monuments and tributes both in the UK and at computer science facilities around the world, efforts to clear his criminal record of the gross indecency conviction had not been successful.
In 2009, the government issued a formal apology to Turing but stopped short of granting a pardon, suggesting that though the law had since been overturned the conviction at the time was valid and did not merit a full pardon.
More recently, efforts to memorialise Turing have included campaigns to put his face on the £10 bank note.
For more information Turing, read V3's collection of the Top 10 Interesting Alan Turing facts.
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