The Alan Turing Year brought this to my attention last night - a group of senior British establishment figures, including Professor Hawking, have written a letter to the Telegraph newspaper in support of a pardon for Alan Turing. I can't find the letter online so here is a full transcript:
Pardon for Alan Turing
SIR - We write in support of a posthumous pardon for Alan Turing, one of the most brilliant mathematicians of the modern era. He led the team of Enigma codebreakers at Bletchley Park, which most historians agree shortened the Second World War. Yet successive governments seem incapable of forgiving his conviction for the then crime of being homosexual, which led to his suicide, aged 41.
We urge the British Prime Minister to forgive this British hero, to whom we owe so much as a nation, and whose pioneering contribution to computer sciences remains relevant even to this day. To those who seek to block attempts to secure a pardon with the argument that this would set a precedent, we would answer that Turing's achievements are sui generis. It is time his reputation was unblemished.
Lord Currie of Marlyebone
Lord Grade of Yarmouth
Lord Faulkner of Worcester
Lord Rees of Ludlow (Astronomer Royal)
Lord Smith of Finsbury
Sir Timothy Gowers (Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics Cambridge University)
Dr Douglas Gurr (Chairman, Science Museum Group)
Professor Stephen Hawking
Sir Paul Nurse (President, The Royal Society)