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Gay Briton Speaks About His Prison Sentence In Morocco: VIDEO

Ray Cole released from Morocco

About two weeks ago we told you about Ray Cole, a 69-year-old Briton from Kent, who had gone missing in Marrakesh, Morocco, only for his family to discover that he and his partner, Jamal Jam Wad Nass, had been imprisoned on charges of homosexuality, which is illegal in the country. Though sentenced to four months, Cole has been released after 19 days and compared the experience to being in a concentration camp, calling it "hell on earth" and was genuinely frightened that he would "disappear into the system."

In a new video at The Guardian, Cole expands further on his experience:

The stench from the toilet, you would not believe; it will live with me forever[...]There's screaming and banging on the bars and banging on the doors. There's no peace there whatsoever 24-hours a day[...]I was worried that they'd hurt Jamal. I was fairly confident they wouldn't hurt me as a European, but I really was worried about him because they don't have any compunction about beating up their own.

Predictably, the plainclothes officers that arrested Ray and Jamal used their religion as justification for the arrest and their hateful actions. Jamal remains in prison, and Ray is working to get asylum for his partner and bring him to the UK.

The unembeddable video can be seen at The Guardian.


Man Imprisoned in Morocco For Being Gay Released

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Late last month Ray Cole, a 70 year old Briton from Kent, was arrested and imprisoned for being gay while vacationing in Morocco. The retired magazine publisher was released yesterday from the prison that he described as being akin to a concentration camp. Cole’s family became concerned after not hearing from him or his partner Jamal Jam Wad Nass, and began looking into their whereabouts. Moroccan authorities detained Cole and Nass in mid-September suspecting the pair to be homosexuals.

Homosexuality is illegal under Moroccan penal code, those found in violation can face prison sentences as long as three years along with significant fines. Cole and Nass are currently serving four-month long sentences after police found incriminating photos of the pair.

"They've gone through his phone and found photographs that they're using as evidence for a homosexual act." Cole’s son Adrian explained to Pink News. "The trial was a complete farce, it was just farcical.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been providing Cole with consular assistance and his family plans to appeal the Moroccan court’s ruling.

"I am deeply concerned about his [Cole's] safety and it is clear that if you visit Morocco you are at serious risk of facing trumped up charges for medieval crimes,” said conservative member of Parliament Charlie Elphicke. "The message is clear – Morocco is not safe for British tourists.”


Six Men Convicted Of Homosexual Acts in Morocco

Morocco

On July 2nd, a Moroccan court of appeals upheld the convictions of at least four of six men accused of homosexual acts, reports Human Rights Watch.

The country’s constitution states that Morocco “commits to banning and combatting all discrimination toward anyone, because of gender, color, beliefs, culture, social or regional origin, language, handicap, or whatever personal circumstance.”

The men were convicted on charges that included “lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex.”

On May 12th, the court of first instance convicted the men of homosexual acts. At that time, sentences included one of three years in prison, one of two and a half years in prison, and four shorter periods in prison. The court is thought to also have banished possibly all six defendants from Fqih Bensalah, the city in which the offences took place.

According to defense lawyer Hadda Maidar, the convictions were upheld on the basis of statements made in police custody. All six men have since repudiated their statements which they say were made under duress.

In its July 2 ruling, the appeals court shortened the two prison terms for two defendants, converted the others to suspended sentences, and cancelled the banishment orders. 


Ricky Martin Gets Subversive With Song Lyrics At Moroccan Concert: VIDEO

Martin

Ricky Martin took advantage of a situation and crafted an inspired, brave moment while performing at the Mawazine World Rhythms Festival in Morocco last week. Altering the lyrics of a popular love song from "she" to "he," Martin took a stand for gay rights in a country where one can be imprisoned for homosexuality.

Think Progress reports:

“It’s the way he makes me feel/ It’s the only thing that’s real,” the singer croons, in a video that’s posted online. “It’s the way he understands / He’s my lover, he’s my friend / When I look into his eyes it’s the way I feel inside / Like the man I want to be / He’s all I ever need.”

Under article 489 in Morocco’s penal code, being gay is a crime punishable by imprisonment. While there is something of a gay community in the country,arrests do happen. Just a month ago, six men there were jailed for being gay.

Way to go, Ricky!

Check out the video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Ricky Martin Gets Subversive With Song Lyrics At Moroccan Concert: VIDEO" »


Six Moroccan Men Jailed For Homosexuality

Article 489 of the Moroccan penal code punishes homosexuality with up to three years in prison, and now six young men may be facing that full sentence after the father of one of them called the police on the whole group, accusing the other five of "coercing" his son into deviant acts. So, Anita Bryant's vile "recruitment" allegations in a fez.

MoroccoThey were also arrested on charges of public drunkenness and prostitution, the latter of which is often tacked on due to the mistaken belief that money is the only motivator for gay sex, not pleasure or love.

Said Khadija Riyadi, a member and former president of The Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH),

There is a lot of hypocrisy here. They know that pre-marital sex is very common here. They know there are openly operating [brothels] and that police even profit from that. And we still sometimes arrest people for sexual crimes. It’s hypocrisy[...]The authorities generally from what I see let the foreigners do what they want when they are gay. It happens [that they are arrested too], but generally they are indulgent.

Last year a Spanish pedophile was released from jail which sparked a protest of thousands, and last fall a girl committed suicide after being forced to marry her rapist, a marriage which likely ocurred because it exonerates the rapist from his crime under Article 475 of the Moroccan penal code. Perhaps Morocco isn't the best country to be legislating on sex crimes.


French Court Overrules Restrictions on Gay Binational Couples, Says Franco-Moroccan Couple Can Marry

A French court on Tuesday ruled against the nation's ban on binational marriages involving 11 countries, AFP reports:

MoroccoFrance legalised same-sex marriage in May after months of intense and sometimes violent protests, and the couple -- Dominique and Mohammed -- immediately got to work planning their official union for September in the town of Jacob-Bellecombette in the Alps.

But just two days before the wedding, prosecutors in the nearby city of Chambery ruled it could not go ahead.

They cited a government circular stating that nationals from 11 countries, including Morocco (inset), Poland and Laos, were not allowed to marry people of the same sex in France.

All 11 ban gay marriage and had signed agreements with France whereby a citizens in a binational couple must obey his or her own nation's marriage law.

A Chambery court ruled against that agreement this week:

That court pointed to a clause in the agreement with Morocco that exempts France from having to comply with Morocco's national marriage laws if they are "obviously incompatible with public order." An appeal lodged by prosecutors was rejected on Tuesday, a decision that could create a precedent and allow gay citizens of the 11 countries concerned to tie the knot in France.


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