The Man Jailed With A British Pensioner In Morocco For "Homosexual Acts" Has Been Freed

    Ray Cole was sleeping on the floor of Marrakech central prison. UPDATED: It appears both men have now been released.

    Update: 9 October, 16:38 BST: Jamal Wald Nass, the Moroccan national jailed with Ray Cole, has been freed.

    According to Omar Arbib, an official for the Moroccan Association of Human Rights, Jamal Wald Nass,"Was released on bail on Wednesday pending his appeal judgement, which will not occur for several weeks," AFP reported.

    He said: "His British companion (Ray Cole) and he, two consenting adults, should never have been arrested. We insist on the respect of individual freedoms, in line with international human rights conventions,." Nass is believed to be in his 20s and using a false name.

    Two days earlier, Ray Cole, the man with whom he was arrested at a bus stop, was freed.

    I have spoken to Jamal. We were able to reach him on the phone this morning after he was released. We are relieved and thrilled that he has been let out.
    We are delighted to announce that our dad, Ray Cole, has been released from prison and is on his way home. We would like to thank each and every one of you, here and in Morocco, who has helped our campaign to secure the release of our wonderful father. We would also like to thank the Moroccan authorities for showing compassion. We would ask that you allow us some time as a family to absorb the news and to spend some time with Dad.

    The BBC reported:

    Mr Cole is understood to have been granted a conditional release pending an appeal.

    His son, Adrian Cole, 41, said: "Our legal team in Marrakesh lodged an appeal today.

    "It has moved much faster than we expected and the court was able to take the step of releasing my father."

    I feel like I am going to be sick – I can't quite believe what we have been able to achieve. He added: "We would like to express our gratitude as a family to the thousands of people who have offered us their support and kindness.

    Original story below.

    This is Ray Cole, a retired magazine publisher from Deal in Kent.

    You may have noticed that I have been absent from Facebook for a few days. Many of you who know me will know that my father came out as gay a few years ago. He had been holidaying in Morocco with a Moroccan friend and sadly has been arrested and charged with being gay. He has now been sentenced to 4 months in the central prison in Marrakech. Life is pretty bleak in there, they are served boiled vegetables once a day and his cell is a dorm designed to sleep 44, however since there are 60 men in there my 70-year-old father sleeps on the concrete floor. The prison does not segregate, so he is sharing with murderers, rapists, paedophiles etc.

    He has since shared photos of the prison.

    Facebook: adrian.cole1

    According to Pink News, he had been visiting a Moroccan man named Jamal Jam Wald Nass. The site said:

    On September 18 the pair were approached at a bus stop by police officers, and were detained on the grounds of suspected homosexuality...

    Both Mr Cole and Mr Jam Wald Nass were sentenced to four months in prison on October 2, when police searched Mr Cole's mobile phone and found a photograph of the two men together, which was used in court as "proof" of homosexual acts.

    The trial was a complete farce, it was just farcical. They've gone through his phone and found photographs that they're using as evidence for a homosexual act... He's had a couple of minor strokes before and has a minor heart condition. He has also been suffering with depression, which the court didn't take into account. Why they haven't just deported him no one seems to be able to be able to explain.

    His latest Facebook update is rather more positive.

    Facebook: adrian.cole1

    The Foreign Office has confirmed that it is providing "consular assistance" to a British national.

    People have begun to tweet the hashtag #FreeRayCole:

    #freeraycole my uncle has been sentenced to 4 months in prison in Morocco for being gay. Please RT

    Hope the Moroccan authorities listen and #FreeRayCole please, get him home. This shouldn't be happening.

    @RealMattLucas my good friend's 70yr old dad has been jailed in Morocco for being gay. please retweet #FreeRayCole

    The BBC has now interviewed Ray Cole's family.