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Alan Turing was both a computer science pioneer and one of the most important codebreakers of World War II. He was also a homosexual, a crime for which he was punished via chemical castration in 1952. 

Now, Queen Elizabeth II and the British government are trying to make things right by giving Turing a royal pardon, as the BBC reports. The pardon, which in British tradition is dubbed the “royal prerogative of mercy,” comes after years of people campaigning against Turing’s “appalling persecution,” as one of many petitions read.

The pardon is, of course, too little, too late for Turing, who died in 1954 from cyanide poisoning (an official investigation ruled it was a suicide).

But Turing wasn’t alone. Thousands of others were convicted of homosexuality during at that time — and many are still alive.

Perhaps Turing’s pardon is the first of many.


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