Royal Pardon


Caroline Davies “Enigma codebreaker Alan Turing receives royal pardon”

同性愛故に逮捕され、治療と称して「化学的去勢」を施され、自殺に追い込まれたアラン・チューリングに対する、エリザベス女王によるroyal pardonが発せられた*2。既に2009年には、当時のブラウン首相が謝罪を行っているが、今回のroyal pardonによって、(英国社会における)完全な名誉恢復がなされたことになる。

A pardon is normally granted only when the person is innocent of the offence and where a request has been made by someone with a vested interest, such as a family member. On this occasion, a pardon has been issued without either requirement being met.

There was mixed reaction to the announcement. Iain Standen, chief executive of the Bletchley Park Trust*3, said Turing was "a visionary mathematician and genius whose work contributed enormously both to the outcome of the war and the computer age".

He added: "The pardon gives further recognition for his outstanding contribution not only to second world war codebreaking but also the development of computing."

Dr Andrew Hodges*4, tutorial fellow in mathematics at Wadham College, Oxford, and author of the acclaimed biography Alan Turing: The Enigma, said: "Alan Turing suffered appalling treatment 60 years ago and there has been a very well intended and deeply felt campaign to remedy it in some way. Unfortunately, I cannot feel that such a 'pardon' embodies any good legal principle. If anything, it suggests that a sufficiently valuable individual should be above the law which applies to everyone else.

"It's far more important that in the 30 years since I brought the story to public attention, LGBT rights movements have succeeded with a complete change in the law – for all. So, for me, this symbolic action adds nothing.

"A more substantial action would be the release of files on Turing's secret work for GCHQ in the cold war. Loss of security clearance, state distrust and surveillance may have been crucial factors in the two years leading up to his death in 1954."

Writer David Leavitt*5, professor of English at Florida University and author of The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer (2006), said it was "great news". The conviction had had "a profound and devastating" effect on Turing, Leavitt said, as the mathematician felt he was being "followed and hounded" by the police "because he was considered a security risk".

"There was this paranoid idea in 1950s England of the homosexual traitor, that he would be seduced by a Russian agent and go over to the other side," Leavitt said. "It was such a misjudgment of Alan Turing because he was so honest, and was so patriotic."

See also

Oliver Wright “Alan Turing gets royal pardon for 'gross indecency' – 61 years after he poisoned himself”
Steven Swinford “Alan Turing granted Royal pardon by the Queen