Enigma codebreaker Alan Turing to be pardoned posthumously

The father of modern computing is to be granted a posthumous pardon, thanks to a backbench bill tabled for the end of October.

A legend of British technology and engineering who played a key part in the Second World War effort will be granted a posthumous pardon, the Guardian reports.

The UK government has hinted it'll support a backbench bill that will pardon Turing, who was persecuted because of his sexuality. After being subjected to chemical castration, Turing took his own life by cyanide poisoning in 1954, aged just 41, tragically cutting short his career.

A third reading of the Alan Turing (statutory pardon) bill will be tabled for the end of October. "If nobody tables an amendment to this bill, its supporters can be assured that it will have speedy passage to the House of Commons," Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, a government whip, told peers.

"The government are very aware of the calls to pardon Turing, given his outstanding achievements, and have great sympathy with this objective," Ahmad said. "That is why the government believe it is right that Parliament should be free to respond to this bill in whatever way its conscience dictates and in whatever way it so wills."

Turing is known as the father of modern computing. He invented the Turing machine, which Google celebrated with a Google doodle last year . He also cracked the Enigma code, which helped the Allies to track German military and naval units and helped win the Second World War. This formed the basis of the 2001 film Enigma.

Many have campaigned for years to grant Turing a pardon, such as Liberal Democrat peer Lord Sharkey. He said: "As I think everybody knows, [Turing] was convicted in 1952 of gross indecency and sentenced to chemical castration. He committed suicide two years later. The government know that Turing was a hero and a very great man. They acknowledge that he was cruelly treated. They must have seen the esteem in which he is held here and around the world."

A campaign to make Turing the face of the next £10 note gained a lot of media coverage, but wasn't successful, as it didn't have enough votes. 

Image credit: ell brown

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