European Parliament President to write to Morocco over arrested gay tourist Ray Cole
The President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz has today confirmed that he will write to Morocco over the issues faced by imprisoned gay tourist Ray Cole.
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.
On Thursday he was found guilty of ‘homosexual acts’ and sentenced to four months behind bars, alongside Mr Wald Nass.
His son Adrian Cole described the trial as a “complete farce”, and claimed that the judge did not take into account Mr Cole’s medical conditions.
The news of Mr Schulz’s intervention came via a tweet from former MEP, and soon to be Labour peer Michael Cashman.
Martin Schulz the President of the European Parliament has personally assured me he will write to Moroccans re #freeraycole and Jamal Nass.
— Michael Cashman (@mcashmanCBE) October 7, 2014
Following public support, Mr Cole’s family yesterday launched a legal fund to help pay for a lawyer to appeal the sentence.
Charlie Elphicke, the Conservative member for Dover, said at the weekend: “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.”
Out Tory MP Nigel Evans has said he will take the case up with the Moroccan ambassador Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui – the cousin of the country’s monarch, King Mohammed VI.
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.”
The legal fund, which has so far raised £1,345, can be found here.
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