Make a horse penis joke on Facebook, get 5 years in Kyrgyzstan prison

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Why would a feeble attempt at humor, presumably written in English on an online site and thus not accessible to most Kyrgyzstani miners, have gotten blown up into a strike-producing offense?

There’s more to this story. Who knows if it will ever be known, but this is not it.


OK, so my family is not from this part of central Asia but let me take some guesses at interpretation here.

Horses are pretty central to a lot of the cultures. Many of the people of the region were nomadic horse tribes if you go back a ways. Mare’s milk and horse meat are part of special meals, and it’s a big deal. So I suspect this guy was treading on some kind of particularly special cultural taboo.

The fact that I know this and he didn’t indicates he wasn’t paying much attention, being stationed there. So I imagine he might have already been wearing his welcome thin. Tip of the iceberg?

The British and the Russians are people who do not get a lot of slack in the 'Stans. I’d invite anyone interested in the region to pick up Peter Hopkirk’s excellent history, The Great Game. It reads like a ripping good historical novel, and you’ll come out of it understanding our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan so much better, on top of it.

Who knows, this Brit might be a fantastic fellow and a sad victim. Or, you know, he could be a horse’s dick himself. But I wouldn’t ascribe it as an overblown response to a single incident, automatically. Remember, this is the English reporting of the incident, not the local response and reporting.


No apology offered to the besmirched Kyrgyzstani horse?


That’s what I was thinking.

I would assume that a British worker at a Kyrgyzstani gold mine operated by Canadians is there because he is some sort of expensive specialist or management type, not because he’s attractively cheap labor.

According to Centerra’s page about the operations, it’s a 97% local workforce, so the other 3% are probably all doing relatively esoteric or managerial things. Wouldn’t be a huge surprise if some of them are less than tactful to the local peasantry about how much they respect and cherish the backwater that HQ is paying them just enough to endure.

There is also a somewhat cryptic press release suggesting that the usual sparring over resource distribution between local government and the sprawling extraction industry is going on. I assume that leads to warm feelings of fellowship between all parties involved.


If even one guy looked at the boss’s Facebook and worked out the words “horse” and “penis” I’ll bet he could get his teenage son to translate the rest. English is not exactly obscure.


I have read several articles about this so far, but they mostly reprocess the same sparse bits of info. So, far, I have not read anything about what precisely they charge the guy with. Which one might suppose could be relevant.


Well, if some Americans with the hurt feels had their way, we would get this sort of law too.

In absolute fairness, the Mrs Miggins franchise has exploded over in Kyrgyzstan.


I think you’re right about that. This kind of has the smell of the local government wanting some leverage and trumping up a charge to hold an executive hostage. That happens in China all the time.

This is pretty typical brit humor, especially when they get drunk. They do it to one another all the time, and nobody thinks anything of it. It sounds charming when you say it with a british accent.


A line was drawn in the sand, presumably by a horse, moving sideways while letting its penis drag.


As far as understood from somewhat more informative article on Guardian, they are charging him with something like inciting racial and religious hatred, a crime that carries possible maximal penalty of 5 years. I would guess that same charge covers a pretty wide spectrum of activities. I doubt that maximal penalty is even considered for one off incident like this. Most likely he would get slapped with a suspended sentence that would include nominal minimal time in jail which he would not serve anyway. He will have some trouble renewing his residence/work permit next time though.

Today I read, (sorry Dutch newspaper) that he is ‘asked’ (edit, ‘summoned’ , is the expression I was looking for) to leave the country. Not good, but it could be worse.
The article also stated that these racial hatred rules where strengthened after the separation from Russia.

We do our best to make it so; but plucky foreigners keep picking up on it anyway.


Hmm. This Guardian article says he’s being deported:

Indeed seems so. I’m not saying it’s a fitting punishment but it’s definitely far less harsh than 5 years in prison as click bait titles implied.

Your nation must have some sort of freedom of information act and habeus corpus tradition. How nice for you.

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