Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 20th Jul 2013 19:05 UTC
Legal "Alan Turing, the Enigma codebreaker who took his own life after being convicted of gross indecency under anti-homosexuality legislation, is to be given a posthumous pardon. The government signalled on Friday that it is prepared to support a backbench bill that would pardon Turing, who died from cyanide poisoning at the age of 41 in 1954 after he was subjected to 'chemical castration'." Justice.
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Pardon?
by galvanash on Sat 20th Jul 2013 22:19 UTC
galvanash
Member since:
2006-01-25

In the US at least, a pardon is almost a celebrated act of populism, i.e. pardons are granted to criminals by people who have cultivated a certain level of political power, enough that they have been granted the special power to operate above the law in a sense. Look at a list of presidential pardons from a typical US president and for the most part is looks like a list of the people most deserving of the punishment they originally received. It is almost never about the law that was violated, it is about money, power, and connections.

It is almost never done to remove an unfair blemish from an otherwise notable life. Some people think Nixon was a great man. Maybe he was, but he was also guilty of a crime, and it was not an unjust law he violated. Same goes for virtually every recipient of a presidential pardon - it is not that the law was unjust, its that the person in question had connections. It is totally unfair to others who committed the same crime, but it is accepted by our society as a sort of perk to the issuer of the pardon - they get to play King for a day in exchange for their years of service.

Im not British, so maybe this is a cultural thing I don't understand. But this seems to me to be more of an insult that anything else... Pardon him? Of what? Breaking an unjust law? The problem was never about Alan Turing, it was about the law. How about condemning the law for what it was and reverse every conviction made under it... Pay some reparations or something, create an education fund for gay and lesbian students in need of financial aid.

Really, anything but calling it a "pardon" and applying it to one man - that seems almost smug in its complete avoidance of the actual injustice they are trying to set right.

Am I missing something?

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