Gay Briton Ray Cole jailed in Morocco overwhelmed by support

image copyrightAdrian Cole
image captionRay Cole was detained by police while waiting at a bus stop on the way back to his apartment

A 69-year-old British man who was jailed for "homosexual acts" in Morocco has been overwhelmed by the level of international support, his son said.

Ray Cole, from Deal in Kent, was imprisoned for four months with his Moroccan partner Jamal Jam Wald Nass, after images were found on his phone.

Adrian Cole said he hoped the Moroccan authorities would deport his father rather than keep him in prison.

A Facebook page and online petition have been set up in support of Mr Cole.

A #freeraycole hashtag has also been used on Twitter to raise the profile of Mr Cole's case.

Adrian Cole said: "My father spoke to my mother yesterday and he was blown away when told of the level of interest and care and concern about him.

"He became quite tearful."

Facebook friendship

Ray Cole, who will be 70 on 25 October, was four weeks into a five-week holiday in Morocco when he was detained by police at a bus stop.

He had gone to the north African country to see 20-year-old Mr Nass for the second time, after developing a friendship on Facebook.

Police stopped the pair while they waited at a Marrakech bus stop on their way to Mr Cole's apartment.

They were detained after police found homosexual images on Mr Cole's phone and last Thursday, he was jailed for four months.

image copyrightAdrian Cole
image captionRay Cole's family said he was having to sleep on the floor of an overcrowded prison cell

Mr Cole's son said: "The people that work [at the prison] are very, very kind. They have treated us with nothing but respect.

"The conditions are not what you would expect here. The cell sleeps 44 men but there are 60 of them living in there.

"The prison officials have been gracious and have put him in a part of the prison that is reserved for older prisoners."

Foreign Office guidelines state homosexuality is a criminal offence in Morocco and sexual relations outside marriage are also punishable by law.

Writing on Facebook, Adrian Cole said: "Thank you to everyone taking the time to wish my father well and to show compassion for him and for Jamal."

He said the family was hoping to appeal against Mr Cole's sentence.

"We simply hope the Moroccan authorities decide to deport my father, rather than punish him further at his age."

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