Alan Turing to receive pardon

Alan Turing Wikipedia

The British government plans to posthumously pardon Alan Turing, the genius mathematician and coder who is often credited with changing the course of World War II for his success in breaking the German ciphers, according to the Guardian. His work allowed coders to break the German Enigma code.

Why would a war hero need a pardon? In 1952, he was arrested under the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act and charged with "gross indecency." In modern language, he was prosecuted for being gay.

After being convicted, he was given the choice between chemical castration and prison. Turing chose castration, by way of female hormone injections. Two years later, at the age of 41, he committed suicide by eating an apple laced with cyanide poisoning.

About 49,000 men were convicted under the homophobic law, including Turing and Irish author Oscar Wilde.

The House of Commons declined to pardon the men when presented with the opportunity last year. This year, it will pass the pardoning bill at the end of October, as long as there are no amendments added.

In a 2009 statement of apology, then Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, "He truly was one of those individuals we can point to whose unique contribution helped to turn the tide of war. The debt of gratitude he is owed makes it all the more horrifying, therefore, that he was treated so inhumanely."

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    Danielle Elliot is a freelance science editor and reporter for CBS News. She holds an M.A. in science and health journalism from Columbia University and a B.A. in broadcast journalism from the University of Maryland. Follow her on Twitter - @daniellelliot.

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