The family of scientist Alan Turing delivered a petition to British officials on Monday calling for 49,000 men to be pardoned for “gross indecency” convictions, AFP reports. Turing was charged in 1952 under the now-discarded law, which criminalized homosexual behavior, and the chemical castration he received as a result was followed by his apparent suicide a few years later. The petition, hosted by change.org, bears more than 523,000 signatures.
Turing’s story gained wider attention with the 2014 release of The Imitation Game, which brought Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Actor for Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of the code-breaking and computing pioneer. Cumberbatch recently expressed support for the pardons.
Turing received a royal pardon in 2013, but his example doesn’t assure that the path toward exoneration for others will be a smooth one. British law generally restricts requests for posthumous pardons to people shown to be innocent of the crime in question, regardless of whether the law was subsequently repealed. The request to throw out Turing’s conviction was initially rejected in 2012 by Britain’s justice minister, who said that the pardon would be “inappropriate” since Turing was “properly convicted of what at the time was a criminal offense.”