UAE | Courts

Scorpions drummer James Kottak jailed in Dubai for cursing Muslims

American convicted of indecent gesture after removing his pants at airport

  • By Bassam Za’za’, Legal and Court Correspondent
  • Published: 13:39 April 29, 2014
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • Scorpions drummer James Kottak, far left, with his bandmates.

Dubai: The long-time drummer of the German heavy metal band, the Scorpions, has been jailed for a month for swearing at Muslims, gesturing indecently and dropping his trousers while drunk at Dubai airport.

“OK,” was the only word the 51-year-old American drummer, James Kottak, said before the Dubai Misdemeanours Court when he heard the ruling on Tuesday. The incident happened on April 3 at Dubai International Airport’s transit hall.

Kottak told the court that he had drunk five glasses of wine on board a flight from Moscow to Bahrain, where he was to play at the Formula 1 Grand Prix. He was transiting via Dubai.

Two ground staff at the airport testified that they heard Kottak shouting that he would not travel with a group of Pakistani and Afghani passengers.

The witnesses claimed the defendant was covering his nose in order not to smell them. He was also heard cursing flydubai, Muslims and the airport.

A policeman testified the incident took place at 10pm.


“The defendant was complaining loudly about a smell which he claimed was coming from a group of Afghans and Pakistanis. When one of the ground staff told me that she heard him cursing Muslims and that he was acting rowdily, I confiscated his passport and told my supervisor,” the policeman said.

Kottak admitted to drinking alcohol but denied the other charges.

Meanwhile his lawyer argued that his client was trying to show a tattoo on his back to people at the airport. He also asked the court to acquit his client due to the contradictory statements given by prosecution witnesses.

According to Tuesday’s ruling, Kottak was handed a lenient punishment due to the circumstances of the case.

Kottak will be deported soon, following the completion of his jail term. He has been in custody since April 3.

He was cited pleading not guilty when he was questioned by prosecutors.

“We had just arrived from Moscow and my friend and I were waiting for a bus when we mistakenly reached the transit section. When I asked to leave, the police arrested me because I had consumed liquor. I did not curse Muslims or Islam … I would never do such a thing even if I was drunk. I do not remember using any foul language and I did not flip my finger. I just lifted up my shirt and showed my tattoo.”

Tuesday’s ruling remains subject to appeal within 15 days.

Comments (13)

  1. Added 17:20 April 30, 2014

    Great Job, Dubai Police,

    ATTIQ, ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 14:43 April 30, 2014

    Would love it that they made him play a few free gigs for the people he didnt love. I could drive him to these vanues.

    Slick Willie, Dubai, Afghanistan

  3. Added 14:13 April 30, 2014

    when is he being released?

    alina, abu dhabi, United States

  4. Added 13:51 April 30, 2014

    Good Job...Dubai Police for not showing any leniency towards this "Legendary" band.

    Sameera, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 13:45 April 30, 2014

    Based upon what the judge heard in the court case he handed out what he thought was an appropriate sentence. But it is totally unacceptable for people who weren't witnesses or who were not in court to hear the case presented to pass judgement in this forum. Yes - rowdy behaviour should be punished and yes defamatory behaviour should be too - whether it is personal or on a religious basis when it is said in a meaningfully bad way as in the recent racist case of the US basketball team owner. Surely it would have been far better to have had him issue a public apology. Rock stars are well known for their outrageous behaviour. So for the faint at heart - if you don't like what you may expect to hear please don't think of going to watch Ozzie Osborne in concert and don't criticise afterwards if you do.

    David Woodward, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 13:11 April 30, 2014

    I lose all the respect of such a legendary band.People have always been disrespectful regardless of any era.Shame

    riaz, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 11:28 April 30, 2014

    Alcohol is trouble. Why is it served for incoming and outgoing flights from middle east? At least, can Middle East carriers stop serving Alcohol on their flights?

    Latif, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 11:21 April 30, 2014

    Whatever Kotak has done is unacceptable in any grounds and punishment is most lenient that I ever had heard for such an offence. What makes me think more is SCORPIONS a LEGENDARY band travelling on economy... Must have made money in almost 3-4 decades...

    Jordie, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 10:28 April 30, 2014

    He simply deserve more punishment. This is very lenient punishment. Cursing muslims in a muslim country is very disrespectful and I see it as Anti-Semtic Behaviour. Anti-Semtic behaviours have more severe punishments, even in Germany as I believe.

    Jamal Al-Tamimi, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 10:27 April 30, 2014

    He doesn't like Muslims, but wants to come earn revenue in a Muslim country!

    Nabeel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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