Morocco drops all charges against British tourist jailed for ‘homosexual acts’

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Morocco has formally dropped the charges against British tourist Ray Cole and his partner, who were jailed this summer for ‘homosexual acts’.

Ray Cole, 70, a retired magazine publisher from Deal in Kent, was arrested in Morocco in September, during a holiday to visit a Moroccan man, Jamal.

The pair were found guilty of “homosexual acts” in October, after police searched their phones, and both were sentenced to four months behind bars.

After a pressure campaign, both men were released pending appeal – and Mr Cole was allowed to leave the country.

Today, Mr Cole revealed that the charges against both him and Jamal had been formally dropped.

He said: “I heard today, November 17, that all charges against myself and Jamal have been dropped and we can now put this horrible episode behind us.

“Happy though I am for this, it doesn’t take away the memory of the appalling treatment in the police station and the frightening conditions in the prison.

“The overwhelming feeling of fear and isolation will stay with me for the rest of my life I think.

“Even though I was held for just three weeks, at the time I had no idea of when I would get out and see my loved ones again. It seemed like an eternity and all for what? Nothing!

“Just because I’m a gay man. And because they could!

“There are no winners. Morocco’s reputation as a safe holiday destination was shattered and enquiries dropped by around 50% although it will recover.

“And it cost me in the region of £7,000 personally. So that’s my travelling days finished!

“I’m happy that it’s all over, but sorry that the Moroccan authorities haven’t yet offered any apology or compensation. I’m not holding my breath!”

Earlier today, Peter Tatchell defended his Foundation’s decision to auction a holiday to Morocco, despite previously speaking out against the “tyranny” of the country’s anti-gay laws.