By Majid Morcili
By Majid Morcili
San Francisco – The British citizen who was jailed for being a homosexual is now free and on his way out of Morocco and most likely never to come back.
A statement released by his family said Ray Cole, 69, was boarding a flight from Marrakech. “We would like to thank everyone here and in Morocco who has helped our campaign to secure the release of our wonderful father. And we would like to thank the Moroccan authorities for showing clemency and compassion.”
This incompetent and predictable move on the part of the Moroccan authorities will cost Morocco dearly as was predicted recently by British parliamentarian Mike Freer.
What happened should not have happened in the first place. Morocco has now sent a message to the whole world that if you are a westerner, you may come and visit Morocco, and if you wish to break the law — even an obscure law that no can fully interpret or comprehend — but you happen to be unlucky and get arrested, you do not have to worry much: if you are not released immediately, all you have to do is ask your friends and loved ones to initiate a tweet threatening Morocco with dire financial consequences and the higher authorities in Morocco will eventually hear about the uproar on Twitter or Facebook and go into panic mode. They will have no choice but to immediately release you.
Mr. Cole was not released based on clemency or compassion on the part of the Moroccan authorities; if anything, Mr. Cole and his family showed class and tact refusing to embarrass the Moroccan authorities that put him in this horrible ordeal.
There is no doubt in my mind that many will lose their jobs over this fiasco. Let us hope for the million times that a lesson is learned and that Moroccan authorities should at least have people who are qualified to consult with before applying a law that is not at all clear.
Let us also hope that in the end, they understand that they are hurting no one but those Moroccans whose lives depend on people visiting the country.
I do have to credit whoever decided to release Mr. Cole so quickly before this drags on. One thing is sure; the decision to release Mr. Cole was not made by Mustapha Ramid, the Minister of Justice and Liberties in the Moroccan government. Someone who knows the dire consequences of prosecuting someone based on illegally confiscating his phone made this intelligent decision.
Last but not least, if you are a much older westerner hanging with a Moroccan kid in his early twenties, you will trigger the suspicion of anyone in Morocco. People will certainly not think that it is just a friendly or a business relationship.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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