Man faces five years in jail for quip comparing Kyrgyz sausage to a horse penis
Michael Mcfeat now faces racial hatred charges, which can bring three to five years in prison under Kyrgyzstan law.
Published 04/01/2016 | 09:02
A Scottish gold miner faces up to five years in prison after outraging fellow workers at a mine in Kyrgyzstan by comparing a national delicacy to a horse penis.
Michael Mcfeat was arrested under race hate laws in the country after his remarks on Facebook about the horse meat sausage known as chuchuk caused a temporary strike.
The 39-year-old posted a picture showing people apparently in a canteen, saying his colleagues were queuing out of the door for their "special delicacy, the horse's penis".
An interior ministry spokesman told the AFP news agency that Michael Mcfeat, who works as a Welding Superintendent for Toronto-based Centerra Gold, was detained by police after posting the comment.
Mr Mcfeat, of Abernethy, Perthshire, now faces racial hatred charges, which can bring three to five years in prison under Kyrgyz law.
He later removed his comments and apologised. He said: “I truly never meant to offend anyone and I'm truly sorry as it was never my intention."
Mr Mcfeat’s family said his remark had been misinterpreted.
His parents, John and Marilyn, said their son had simply posted "praise" together with a picture of him and his colleagues enjoying a New Year's Eve meal.
John Mcfeat, a 63-year-old farmworker, said their only son had meant "nothing bad".
He said: "He's out there as a supervisor welder to help the Kyrgyz, and it was a New Year's meal and he was praising everything that the chef had done, but its just gone crazy...
"He said it was a lovely meal, with the local delicacy, horse sausage meat, but he put 'horse penis'.
"All we can do is wait, and the Foreign Office will hopefully try and explain that there was no malice in what Michael put, there was nothing derogatory meant by what he posted.”
Michael's mother Marilyn, 62, said: “It was just a throwaway comment. He said it was an amazing meal. We want to be careful what we say, so nothing is misconstrued, but if this so serious, as it appears to be, should somebody not have been in touch with us?"
Michael's wife Amanda, 40, a book-keeper, added: "It was just a Hogmanay feast, and put up a picture of his colleagues at the meal and praised the chef and said the Kyrgyz were queuing out of the door for their special delicacy, the horse's penis.”
Horse meat including offal is a popular delicacy in both Kyrgyzstan and neighbouring Kazakhstan where nomadic traditions have been revived since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The Kumtor mine is 220 miles south east of the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek and is the largest goldmine operated by a Western company in Central Asia.
The mine produced more than 9.9 million ounces of gold between 1997 and the end of 2014.
The British embassy confirmed it was looking into the case.
A spokesman said: ““We are in contact with the local authorities after a British National was detained in Kyrgyzstan and are ready to provide consular assistance.”