British man jailed for ‘homosexual acts’: I don’t support a travel boycott against Morocco

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PinkNews Exclusive
A gay British man who was previously jailed in Morocco for “homosexual acts” during a visit to a friend has said he has reconsidered his stance, and no longer supports a travel boycott against the country.

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

Mr Cole, who was released following a pressure campaign, remained strongly critical of Morocco, and described his 20-day experience in the jail as like “a concentration camp”.

However, speaking to PinkNews today, Mr Cole said he had reconsidered his position.

His comments came amid a controversy surrounding the Peter Tatchell Foundation, which today withdrew the auction prize of a holiday to Morocco, following complaints

Depsite saying he thinks authorities made a “major mistake” in the handling of his case, Mr Cole said: “I don’t think it’s a good idea to boycott Morocco.

“The people who get hurt aren’t the ones who cause the problems.”

He said the decision had come after he spoke with human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, received messages from people living in Morocco, and spoke to the owner of the flat who had donated the holiday in aid of the foundation.

When asked by PinkNews whether he would consider returning there himself, he said: “No, I think I might pass on that, at least for the time being.”

Morocco yesterday formally dropped the charges against Mr Cole and his partner, who were jailed this summer for ‘homosexual acts’.

Hotel searches for Marrakesh reportedly fell by 46%, just one week after the news broke of Ray Cole’s imprisonment in October.