Jailed gay British tourist Ray Cole has been sent back to the UK and has promised to help his friend who remains in prison.
Cole, 70, was met by his tearful family and members of the media at Gatwick Airport on Wednesday morning.
It was earlier announced by the Moroccan Embassy in London that he had been conditionally released pending the outcome of an appeal. It said that he would be appearing in court today. Instead, he was flown out of the country.
“I’m totally overwhelmed,” said Cole on his arrival to BBC South East Today. “I didn’t expect this at all. I thought I was going to be transferred to a different prison and then they said they were sending me home.”
When asked what it was like in prison, he said: “You would not believe. It’s horrendous. It’s not a prison, it’s a concentration camp. People are in there from the age of ten to eighties and nineties – for nothing.”
He said that he can barely move his arm after sleeping on the floor for 20 nights. “It was a total nightmare. I’ve seen things I never thought existed.”
Cole added that he was “so proud” of his family for campaigning for his release. “I couldn’t have a better family,” he said, becoming tearful.
Cole described Morocco’s attitude towards homosexuality as being, “One hundred years out of date.” He said that he had no idea what happened to the Moroccan man he was arrested and prosecuted with, Jamal Jam Wald Nass.
“I imagine he’s still in prison, but I think the judge might have to release him too. I hope so. I’m terribly terribly sorry about him and I want to do anything I can.
“They seem to think I was some kind of sex tourist and I’m not and I wasn’t. And I won’t forget, and I won’t leave this,” he said.
Cole was arrested after he went to Marrakesh last month to visit a Moroccan man, Jamal Jam Wald Nass. They were approached at a bus stop by police officers and were detained on suspicion of being gay.
Police found photos of the two men on his phone, which were used in court to prosecute them. They were both sentenced to four months in prison last Thursday.
A Facebook group has been set up to free Jamal Jam Wald Nass. There are concerns that his has no legal representation and that his family may not even be aware that he is in jail.