Petition for Benedict Cumberbatch-backed campaign to pardon gay men convicted of indecency reaches 460,000 signatures

Cumberbatch recently played code-breaker Alan Turing, who killed himself after being convicted of gross indecency

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The Independent Online

A petition calling for the 49,000 gay men prosecuted in the UK to be pardoned has garnered almost half a million signatures.

As many of 15,000 of those men convicted of gross indecency when homosexuality was illegal are still living. A petition calling for these convictions to be overturned now has over 450,000 supporters.

Benedict Cumberbatch, who recently played code-breaker Alan Turing in the film The Imitation Game, was among signatories of an open letter published in The Guardian.

The letter, which also called on the royal family to show their support, read: “The UK’s homophobic laws made the lives of generations of gay and bisexual men intolerable.

 “We call upon Her Majesty’s government to begin a discussion about the possibility of pardoning all the men, alive or deceased, who like Alan Turing were convicted.”

Mr Turing, a brilliant mathematician credited with solving the Nazi Enigma code, killed himself in 1954 after he was convicted of gross indecency in 1952 and was chemically castrated.

Other signatories to the open letter include The Imitation Game's director Morten Tyldum and Stephen Fry.