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Seventy-year-old British man jailed in Morocco 'for being gay'

2014-10-06
Ray ColeA British man has been sentenced to four months in a Moroccan prison for being gay, his son has said. Adrian Cole revealed that his 70-year-old father, Ray, had been arrested and sentenced after visiting the North African country as a tourist. He had arranged to meet a Moroccan man in Marrakesh, who has also been sentenced. In a Facebook message, he said that his father's mobile phone had been searched by police, who had then used it as evidence in court. Describing life in the prison for his father, Adrian said that it is "pretty bleak", adding that 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". He continued: "My father has a spot on the floor ... But that’s quite reasonable, after all he is a gay and had the temerity to visit Morocco as a tourist for a holiday." The Foreign Office has confirmed that they are "providing consular assistance", The Guardian reports, while Charlie Elphicke, the Conservative MP for Dover, described the situation as "shocking and appalling". “I have been doing all I can to help free Mr Cole from these appalling charges. I am deeply concerned about his safety and it is clear that if you visit Morocco you are at serious risk of facing trumped up charges for medieval crimes," he said. "The message is clear – Morocco is not safe for British tourists. “I am gravely concerned by the state of Moroccan prisons, and the care and the safety he will have in jail. I’m raising it with ministers, asking them to intervene more directly on his behalf. It is a shocking and appalling situation for a British national to be in and it is really important to get him back to the UK."