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Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry campaign to pardon convicted gay men


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#1 sChiZoO14

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Posted 29 January 2015 - 03:23 PM


Benedict Cumberbatch and Stephen Fry are amongst those campaigning for pardons for the gay men who were prosecuted in the 1950s.

49,000 men were persecuted for their homosexuality in Britain in the 1950s, including Enigma code breaker Alan Turing.

Turing, who was portrayed by Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game, was convicted of gross indecency for being gay and was sentenced to chemical castration.

The Queen granted Turing a pardon in 2013.

In a letter to The Hollywood Reporter, Cumberbatch wrote: "Alan Turing was not only prosecuted, but quite arguably persuaded to end his own life early, by a society who called him a criminal for simply seeking out the love he deserved, as all human beings do.

"Sixty years later, that same government claimed to 'forgive' him by pardoning him. I find this deplorable, because Turing's actions did not warrant forgiveness - theirs did - and the 49,000 other prosecuted men deserve the same."

Fry, meanwhile, recently gave a moving speech condemning the criminalisation of homosexuality, which was only legalised in the UK in 1967.

"Should Alan Turing have been pardoned just because he was a genius when somewhere between 50 to 70,000 other men were imprisoned, chemically castrated, had their lives ruined or indeed committed suicide because of the laws under which Turing suffered?" Fry asked.

"There is a feeling that perhaps if he should be pardoned, then perhaps so should all of those men, whose names were ruined in their lifetime, but who still have families.

"It was a nasty, malicious and horrific law and one that allowed so much blackmail and so much misery and so much distress, and Turing stands as a figure symbolic to his own age in the way that Oscar Wilde was."

Cumberbatch issued an apology earlier this week for using the term "coloured" while calling for more diverse casting in the film industry.


Digital Spy