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Groundbreaking mathematician Alan Turing set to be pardoned for 'indecency' conviction

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Alan Turing FLICKR
Alan Turing FLICKR

Alan Turing, the late British mathematician who helped break the Nazi Engima code during World War II and whose work laid the foundation for modern computers, looks set to be given a posthumous pardon by the UK government for an old "indecency" conviction. Turing, who was homosexual in an age and place where such orientation was criminalized, was convicted of gross indecency in 1952 and sentenced to chemical castration. Two years later, after undergoing injections that made him impotent and grow breasts, he died of cyanide poisoning at age 41 in an apparent suicide. In the years that followed, supporters of his work and gay rights activists have campaigned for him to be pardoned by the government, and in 2012, Liberal Democrat member of the British Parliament Lord Sharkey introduced a bill that would do just that.

After a second reading of the bill in the British House of Lords on Friday, a government whip was quoted by The Guardian as saying: "If nobody tables an amendment to this bill, its supporters can be assured that it will have speedy passage to the House of Commons." The bill still has to pass the House of Commons in order to become law, but it should do so easily.