Nigel Evans MP: I will take jailed British man’s case to Moroccan ambassador

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Out Tory MP Nigel Evans has said he will take the case of a British man jailed in Morocco for ‘homosexual acts’ up with the Moroccan ambassador.

Ray Cole, 69, a retired magazine publisher from Deal in Kent, was arrested last month, during a holiday to Marrakesh to visit a Moroccan man, Jamal Jam Wald Nass.

On Thursday he was found guilty of ‘homosexual acts’ and sentenced to four months behind bars, alongside Mr Jam Wald Nass.

Nigel Evans, MP for Ribble Valley and former Deputy Speaker, told PinkNews: “I am astounded that Ray Cole has been convicted of homosexual acts.

“I have been to Morocco on a few occasions and I find it a lovely, and vibrant country. Morocco attracts thousands of UK visitors every year and a fair whack of them will be gay.

“I deplore the fact that Mr Cole is spending any time in a jail there.

“I call upon MPs from Morocco to look again at the way they are treating gay people.

“Do they really want their country associated with such archaic laws, and do they really think it is wise to lock someone up for four months for something that is legal in so many countries around the world?

“As a gay MP who sits with so many other gay MPs in the UK I will be writing to the Moroccan ambassador and asking her to convey to His Majesty a plea from the gay community in the UK to release this man in order that he can return to the UK as soon as possible.”

Morocco’s ambassador to the United Kingdom is Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui – the cousin of the country’s monarch, King Mohammed VI.

Charlie Elphicke, the Conservative member for Dover, said earlier: “I urge people not to visit Morocco. If you go there you are at serious risk of facing trumped up charges for medieval crimes.

“The message is clear. Morocco is not safe for British tourists.”

Labour’s LGBT envoy Michael Cashman has also condemned Morocco, telling PinkNews: “This man should be released immediately. If not, then the Morocaans must face the economic and diplomatic consequences that will follow.”

Mike Freer, Conservative Party Vice Chair and MP for Finchley and Golders Green, added: “Morocco needs to decide if it wants to be a modern, tolerant tourist welcoming country or not.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We can confirm the detention of a British national in Morocco. We are providing consular assistance.