UK Labour leader Ed Miliband has pledged to introduce a posthumous pardon – ‘Turing’s Law’ – for gay men convicted under historical indecency laws.
Turing, whose code-breaking work was indispensable to the allied war effort during WW2, received a posthumous royal pardon in 2013. He killed himself in 1954, two years after being chemically castrated, which he accepted in lieu of a prison sentence after being convicted of “homosexual acts”.
“What was right for Alan Turing’s family should be right for other families as well,” said Miliband. “The next Labour government will extend the right individuals already have to overturn convictions that society now see as grossly unfair to the relatives of those convicted who have passed away.”
Last month, relatives of Turing (pictured above) handed a petition with almost 500,000 signatures to 10 Downing Street, calling for a pardon for the estimated 49,000 men convicted under the archaic law.
Currently, the Protection of Freedom Act (2012) provides for individuals still alive to apply to the Home Office to have their historical convictions for homosexual acts disregarded, but no such redress exists for the family and friends of those who died before the law change, reports The Guardian.
However, this process of removal falls short of a full pardon. The Home Secretary can order that convictions for consensual gay offence are treated as “spent”, reports The Telegraph. Criminal records are deleted or annotated, and the convictions will not be disclosed in Criminal Records Bureau checks or in court proceedings.
Labour have said that the next Labour government would review how the Protection of Freedom Act could be extended to cover the deceased as well as those still living.
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