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U.K. Tourist Ray Cole Spent 20 Days in Morocco Jail for Being Gay

 / Updated 
Image: Ray Cole is greeted at Gatwick Airport
Ray Cole, 69, is greeted by family members at Gatwick Airport as he returned from Morocco following his release from prison on Tuesday.Dominic Lipinski / PA via AP

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A British tourist told of his “horrendous” ordeal late Tuesday after spending 20 days in a Moroccan jail for being gay. Ray Cole, 69, was on vacation when he was arrested and sentenced to four months in prison for being homosexual — which is a crime in the north African country. He was released Tuesday after lawyers lodged an appeal.

“It's not a prison, it's a concentration camp,” Cole told ITV News, after sharing an emotional reunion with his family at Gatwick Airport near London. “People are in there from the age of 10 to 80 and 90s for nothing. I can hardly move my arm from sleeping on the floor.” Cole’s plight was highlighted by his son Adrian, 41, who appealed for help through social media. “The prison does not segregate, so he is sharing with murderers, rapists, pedophiles etc,” Adrian wrote on Facebook. Cole was in Marrakech visiting his Moroccan friend, Jamal Jam Wald Nass. The two were arrested at a bus stop on Sept 18. after a photograph of them together was found on Cole’s phone and used as evidence of homosexual acts. They were convicted on Oct. 2. Cole told the BBC he believed Nass, 20, was still being held in prison, and said his lawyers would also try to secure the Moroccan's release. "They seemed to think that I was some kind of sex tourist, but I'm not and I wasn't,” he said.

Image: Ray Cole is greeted at Gatwick Airport
Ray Cole, 69, is greeted by family members at Gatwick Airport as he returned from Morocco following his release from prison on Tuesday.Dominic Lipinski / PA via AP

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