Family of 'Imitation Game' Subject Take Petition to U.K. Government

Jack English/The Weinstein Company

Relatives of Alan Turing deliver petition calling for pardoning of more than 49,000 gay men convicted under historic laws.

Benedict Cumberbatch may not have won an Oscar for his performance as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, but the family of the WWII code breaker and computer scientist are driving ahead with the campaign the film has helped bring to international attention.

Turing’s relatives including his great niece, great nephew and great great nephew on Monday delivered a petition to the home of the U.K. prime minister, 10 Downing Street in London. Signed by almost half a million people, the petition - set up by U.S. LGBT campaigner Matthew Breen - calls for the official pardoning of the more than 49,000 gay men who were convicted under the U.K.’s historic anti-gay laws in the 1950s.

Turing was among those convicted, eventually ending his own life in 1954 after being forced to undergo chemical castration rather than face imprisonment. Turing was eventually given an official pardon by Queen Elizabeth in 2013.

"I consider it to be fair and just that everybody who was convicted under the Gross Indecency Law is given a pardon," said Turing’s great niece Rachel Barnes in a statement. "It is illogical that my great uncle has been the only one to be pardoned when so many were convicted of the same crime."

The petition has received high profile backers, most notably Cumberbatch and Stephen Fry, who has also called for Turing to be featured on the back of the £10 note.

"The Imitation Game film has brought Alan Turing's story to cinemas around the globe. But what about all of the men whose stories will never be heard? They also deserve their names to be cleared,” Fry wrote in an email to users urging them to sign the petition.