TORONTO – A Toronto-based gold miner said Monday it doesn’t tolerate behaviour that is insensitive to any cultural or national group after one of its contract workers in Kyrgyzstan was reportedly arrested for comparing a local sausage dish to a horse’s penis on social media.
Centerra Gold says Michael Mcfeat, a Scottish welder, was arrested in Kyrgyzstan after making the comment on Facebook.
According to a screen grab posted online by U.K. newspaper the Telegraph showing what appear to be workers eating in a company canteen, the comment said: “The Kyrgyz people Queuing out the door for there special delicacy the horses penis!!!”
In a followup post on Facebook, Mcfeat apologized and said it was never his intention to offend anyone.
Media reports say some workers at Centerra’s Kumtor gold mine project in Kyrgyzstan went on a temporary strike after the posting, which was later deleted, and that Mcfeat was arrested under the country’s hate speech laws.
The BBC, citing Kyrgyzstan media, reported that a court ordered Mcfeat to be deported back to the U.K. because of incorrect paperwork.
The incident is Centerra Gold’s second brush with Kyrgyzstan authorities in recent months.
In October, former Centerra Gold CEO Leonard Homeniuk was freed after being detained in Bulgaria for more than two months as Kyrgyzstan sought his extradition to face corruption charges that he said were politically motivated.
The Bulgarian court found Kyrgyzstan hadn’t provided any of the required evidence to back up the charges.