Michael Mcfeat now faces racial hatred charges, which can bring three to five years in prison under Kyrgyzstan law.

A British 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 horsemeat sausage known as chuchuk caused a temporary strike.

The 39-year-old posted a photo of people apparently in a canteen at the Kumtor mine, saying his colleagues were queuing out of the door for their "special delicacy, the horse's penis".

Michael McFeat, a Briton working in Kyrgyzstan who faces jail time for describing a local variety of sausage as 'horse penis'. Photo / Facebook
Michael McFeat, a Briton working in Kyrgyzstan who faces jail time for describing a local variety of sausage as 'horse penis'. Photo / Facebook

An interior ministry spokesman said that Mr Mcfeat, who works as a welding superintendent for Toronto-based Centerra Gold, was detained by police.

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Mr Mcfeat, of Abernethy, Perthshire, now faces racial hatred charges, which can bring three to five years in prison.

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."

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."

Mr Mcfeat's family said last night his remarks had been misinterpreted and were intended as "praise".

John Mcfeat, a 63-year-old farm worker, said his son had meant "nothing bad". He said: "It was a New Year's meal and he was praising everything that the chef had done, but it's 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. It's been a terrible start to the new year, to say the least."

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 is so serious, as it appears to be, should somebody not have been in touch with us?" Michael's wife Amanda, 40, a book-keeper, said: "It was just a Hogmanay feast. He put up a picture of colleagues at the meal and praised the chef."

The mine, 355km south-east of the capital Bishkek and the largest gold mine operated by a Western company in Central Asia, is one of Kyrgyzstan's biggest assets, accounting for up to 10 per cent of its economic output. A local trade union leader confirmed work had resumed after a brief strike.