British gay man released from Moroccan jail pending appeal

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A gay British man arrested in Morocco and charged with committing homosexual acts has been granted conditional release.

A statement by the Moroccan Embassy read: “Access to consular assistance and a legal defence has been duly provided to Mr Cole, who has exercised his right of appeal and is due to appear in front of the Judge of the Court of Appeals tomorrow, 8 October 2014. In the meantime, Mr Cole is to be granted conditional release. today.”

Ray Cole, 70, 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.

Last Thursday he was found guilty of “homosexual acts” and sentenced to four months behind bars, alongside Mr Wald Nass.

His son Adrian Cole and daughter Gemma Scott-Hake said in a statement: “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 a family to absorb the news and to spend some time with dad.”

Adrian Cole previously described the trial as a “complete farce”, and claimed that the judge did not take into account Mr Cole’s medical conditions.

The President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz has today confirmed that he will write to Morocco over Mr Cole’s plight.

This evening’s statement by the Moroccan Embassy did not mention Jamal Jam Wald Nass.