Kyrgyzstan expels Briton after 'horse penis' Facebook comment

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan - A Briton working at a Canadian-owned gold mine in ex-Soviet Kyrgyzstan has been expelled after comparing a local delicacy to a horse penis in a Facebook post, an interior ministry spokesman confirmed Monday.

A city court in the eastern town of Karakol issued a decision to deport Michael Mcfeat, who was working for Toronto-listed Centerra Gold on the basis of his staying in the country illegally, the spokesman said.

The decision, which the spokesman said was owing to a lack of documents, spared Mcfeat from a more serious charge of inciting inter-ethnic hatred, which under Kyrgyz law is punishable by three to five years in prison.

Mcfeat has to leave the country within 24 hours of the decision, which was at 1000 GMT Monday.

In a New Year's Eve Facebook post, Mcfeat wrote that Kyrgyz were queuing for their "special delicacy, the horse's penis" during holiday celebrations, referring to a traditional horse sausage known as "chuchuk." His remarks sparked a furious response among local co-workers, who staged a one-day strike January 2-3.

Mcfeat posted an apology on Facebook January 2, saying he had not meant to offend anyone.

He was arrested on Sunday by police on inter-ethnic hatred charges following complaints from colleagues.

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.

Located some 350 kilometres (210 miles) south east of the capital Bishkek, Kumtor mine is one of Kyrgyzstan's biggest assets and accounts for up to 10 per cent of the nation's economic output.

In March, local lawmakers in Kyrgyzstan made international headlines by threatening the government with a vote of no confidence unless it got to grips with allegations that donkey meat was being sold as beef and lamb in the cafes of capital Bishkek.

And in 2011, MPs ritually slaughtered seven sheep in parliament to exorcise "evil spirits" from the chamber after a wave of bloody ethnic violence and regime change a year earlier.