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Queen Pardons WWII Code-Breaker Alan Turing for Gay Conviction

MILTON KEYNES, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 15: Queen Elizabeth II presses the button to start the enigma code breaking machine as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and wartime operator Ruth Bourne look on during a visit to Bletchley Park on July 15, 2011 in Milton Keynes, England. Bletchley Park is the historic site of secret British code-breaking activities during WWII. (Photo by Arthur Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Queen views an Enigma machine at Bletchley Park in 2011. Photo: WPA Pool/2011 Getty Images

Benedict Cumberbatch’s Alan Turing biopic just got a slightly happier ending. On Monday, Queen Elizabeth II pardoned the father of modern computing for his 1952 homosexuality conviction. Turing, who helped crack the Nazi’s “Enigma” code, was found guilty of “gross indecency,” and faced prison or probation with a year of mandatory estrogen injections to reduce his sex drive. He chose what was essentially chemical castration, lost his security clearance due to the conviction, and committed suicide two years later. The “royal prerogative of mercy” has only been issued three times since 1945, in cases involving men wrongly accused of murder. While Turing was guilty of what was a crime at the time, a justice minister said he was being pardoned for “a sentence we would now consider unjust and discriminatory.” Advocates welcomed the news, but said the other 75,000 men convicted under the law should be pardoned as well.

Queen Pardons Alan Turing for Gay Conviction