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Campaign for official Turing apology gathers steam

Downing Street petition up

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A grassroots UK campaign to a secure a posthumous apology for computing pioneer Alan Turing over his persecution for homosexuality has begun.

Turing's conviction for gross indecency in 1952 brought an end to an outstanding career as a wartime cryptographer, mathematician and computing pioneer. Denied the opportunity to exercise his formidable intellect in classified work as a consultant to GCHQ, Turing spiralled into depression and eventually committed suicide in 1954, aged 41.

Since then his genius and contribution to computing have been widely recognised, not least when the computing world's version of the Nobel Prize was re-christened as the Turing award in 1966.

To some this recognition, as well as the plaques and statues erected in Turing's honour, do not go far enough.

A petition on the 10 Downing Street website calling for an official apology from the Prime Minster for the "prosecution of Alan Turing that led to his untimely death" has already attracted 2,200 signatures.

John Graham-Cumming, the British computer expert who launched the campaign, told the Manchester Evening News: "I think that Alan Turing hasn't been recognised in Britain for his enormous contribution because he died in his forties and almost certainly because he was gay.

"It is atrocious that we don't recognise this man and the only way to do so is to apologise to him. This man was a national treasure and we hounded him to his death," Graham-Cumming said, adding that he thought of Turing as a war hero. ®

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