Tory Vice Chair Mike Freer: Trade talks with Morocco should be blocked over jailing of gay tourist

Nick Duffy October 5, 2014
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Out Tory MP Mike Free has called for trade talks with Morocco to be blocked, after a gay British man was jailed for ‘homosexual acts’ in the country.

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.

Mike Freer, Conservative Party Vice Chair and MP for Finchley and Golders Green, told PinkNews: “It is unacceptable that Ray Cole was arrested for ‘homosexual acts’.

“Morocco needs to decide if it wants to be a modern, tolerant tourist welcoming country or not.

“It is essential that the Foreign Office makes clear to their Moroccan counterparts that they will block further trade talks between the EU and Morocco until Mr Cole is released and Morocco guarantees that gay travellers will not be subject to arrest.”

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.”

Mr Cole’s son Adrian said previously: “The trial was a complete farce, it was just farcical.

“They’ve gone through his phone and found photographs that they’re using as evidence for a homosexual act.

“He’s had a couple of minor strokes before and has a minor heart condition. He has also been suffering with depression, which the court didn’t take into account.”

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


Related topics: Africa, Conservative, deal, Dover, England, Gay, Mike Freer, Morocco, mp, Tory, UKIP, United Kingdom Independence Party, vice chair

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