Morocco sentences gay tourist to four months in prison


A 70-year-old British tourist is in jail in Morocco for being gay, news reports said Sunday.

Ray Cole was arrested with a local man at a bus stop in Marrakesh last month, and was sentenced to four months on Thursday, according to the KentOnline website. Speaking in Deal in southern England, Adrian Cole said his father was sleeping on the concrete floor of a cell he shared with up to 60 other prisoners.

“The prison doesn’t segregate so he’s sharing with murderers, rapists, paedophiles,” Cole said. “The trial was a complete farce,” he said. “They’ve gone through his phone and found photographs that they’re using as evidence for a homosexual act.”

Charlie Elphicke, the local member of parliament for Deal, said the imprisonment showed tourists were not safe in Morocco. “I’ve been doing all I can to help free Mr Cole from these appalling charges,” he said. “I’m deeply concerned about his safety and it’s clear that if you visit Morocco you’re at serious risk of facing trumped up charges for medieval crimes.”

A spokesman for Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office told Kent Online: “We can confirm the detention of a British national in Morocco. We are providing consular assistance.” In its advice to travellers, the Foreign Office warns that homosexuality is a criminal offence in Morocco.