Scorpions drummer James Kottak jailed in Dubai for cursing Muslims

American convicted of indecent gesture after removing his pants at airport

Image Credit: Supplied
Scorpions drummer James Kottak, far left, with his bandmates.
13 Gulf News

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.