Feeds

Stephen Hawking pushes for posthumous pardon for Alan Turing

Lords and boffins urge PM to forgive 'iconic British hero'

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Peers and scientists including Professor Stephen Hawking are once again pushing for an official pardon for codebreaker Alan Turing.

Turing's death from cyanide poisoning in 1954 was ruled a suicide, coming after his conviction for gross indecency at a time when homosexuality was illegal.

Lib Dem peer Lord Sharkey has already introduced a Private Members' Bill in the House of Lords over the summer to try to get a pardon for Turing, who is credited with helping to end World War II by breaking German encryption at Bletchley Park.

If that bill is passed by both Houses of Parliament, Turing could get an official pardon without consent from the government.

But Lord Grade, Conservative peer, wants the prime minister to use his own authority to pardon Turing. In a written question on Tuesday, he asked the government if they would reconsider their decision not to grant the pardon.

In 2009, then Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologised for Turing's appalling treatment, but he wouldn't formally pardon him for his "crime". A letter to the coalition government also failed to achieve a pardon in February this year.

Justice Minister Lord McNally said this week that the government only handed out pardons in cases where the convicted person could be proved to have been innocent.

"Dr Turing's conviction, essentially for homosexual activity, was the result of an offence which we would now consider discriminatory and which has now been repealed. This was a shocking and inappropriate fate for someone who had contributed so much to science and to the defence of his country," he said in answer to Lord Grade's written question.

"However, it is long-standing government policy that pardons under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy should be reserved for cases where it can be established that the convicted person was innocent of the relevant offence, and not to undo the effects of legislation which we now recognise as wrong."

Lords Grade and Sharkey have signed a letter sent to The Telegraph asking again for the pardon. Professor Stephen Hawking, the Astronomer Royal Lord Rees, Sir Paul Nurse, head of the Royal Society and Baroness Trumpington, who worked for Turing at Bletchley Park during the war, have all co-signed the letter.

The letter urges David Cameron to "formally forgive the iconic British hero".

The peers and scientists may feel they have a better case for Turing now, after the government introduced legislation earlier this year to take the "offence" of homosexuality off people's criminal record if they had previously been convicted of it. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
Apple tried to get a ban on Galaxy, judge said: NO, NO, NO
Judge Koh refuses Samsung ban for the third time
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.