Ray Cole

The Moroccan man who was jailed along with a British tourist on homosexuality charges has now also been released, but there is concern about his future.

Ray Cole, 70, and Jamal Jam Wald Nass were arrested at a bus stop in Marrakesh on suspicion of homosexuality on 18 September.

Cole had travelled to Morocco to visit the local man for the second time.

Pictures found on Cole’s phone were used to prosecute the two men and they were both sentenced to four months in prison.

The pensioner’s arrest made international headlines and led to Cole being “conditionally” released pending the outcome of an appeal.

He was, however, immediately flown back to the UK to reunite with his family, effectively freeing him permanently.

The fate of Nass was unknown for a few days but last week Cole’s daughter, Gemma Scott-Hake, wrote on Facebook that he had also been freed.

“I can confirm 100% that Jamal has been released and will return to uni Monday,” she said.

Scott-Hake also asked that a page set up to support Nass be taken down as per his request in order to protect him against any additional persecution. No other information about his identity has been released.

What remains unclear is if Nass will still face the appeal process and if he could be jailed again.

Speaking to PinkNews, Cole said that Nass’ friends had learned of his arrest and that “he can’t go out. He’s stuck at home. He’s suffering quite a lot from that, and he desperately wants to leave Morocco.”

Cole said that Nass should be given asylum in the UK, revealing that the two have been in a relationship since April last year.

“I love him to bits, I want to get him over here and give him the life he deserves. I really worry about him. I’d love him out of there, I want him to be with me,” said Cole.

He added that he would marry Jamal in order to help bring him to the UK but that the Home Office imposes a £18,600 minimum income threshold to bring over a spouse. Cole is retired and does not earn enough to qualify.

“I was crushed when we found out about the requirement. Jamal won’t be a drain on British society, he’ll work. I will do anything I possibly can to get him here.”

Cole insisted that he and Nass had kept to themselves in Morocco and had not done anything to draw attention to themselves; suggesting that the police were tipped off by someone about their relationship.

Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Morocco with penalties ranging from six months to three years in jail, as well as fines.

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