AFTER playing prosecuted gay man and World War II codebreaker Alan Turing in the award-winning biopic The Imitation Game, Benedict Cumberbatch has called on UK leaders to pardon all gay men who where convicted of homosexuality under the country’s historic indecency laws.

Under the the laws 49,000 men where found guilty, with 15,000 believed to still be alive. Turing was pardoned of his crimes by the Queen in 2013.

Cumberbatch has joined over 40,000 people in signing the letter for the pardon that is addressed to the Government and urging members of the royal family to back the campaign.

The letter reads: “The UK’s homophobic laws made the lives of generations of gay and bisexual men intolerable.

“It is up to young leaders of today including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to acknowledge this mark on our history and not allow it to stand.

“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.”

However, the Prince William and Princess Kate have declined to support the campaign, stating that it was a matter for the government and that they were not permitted to publicly comment on political matters.

Australian jurisdictions started to expunge gay sex convictions late last year, with only Victoria and NSW passing the legislation so far and plans afoot in other states.

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