The drummer for the heavy metal band Scorpions has been jailed for insulting Islam and giving Muslims the middle finger at an airport in Dubai.
James Kottak, the American drummer for the German band Scorpions, was sentenced to a month in jail for being drunk, insulting Islam and Muslims, and dropping his trousers at Dubai International Airport, according to media reports.
Kottak, 51, admits he drank five glasses of wine on a flight from Moscow to Dubai. However, he denies flipping the bird, pulling down his pants, insulting Islam and yelling negative things about Muslims.
Reports indicate Kottak was arrested April 3 en route from Russia to Bahrain, where the German band was scheduled to perform at a Formula One race. Kottak was a no-show at the April 5 concert.
Dubai police confirmed the arrest but would not comment on details. Kottak “was arrested at the airport earlier this month after complaints about his behavior. He was then, according to the law, referred to the prosecution department,” a Dubai police source told CNN Arabic.
Kottak’s lawyer, named by The National as Hamid al-Khazraji, argued that his client was innocent and that testimony from witnesses was contradictory.
The Scorpions, who are best known for their ’80s and ’90s hits “Wind of Change” and “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” addressed the incident on the band’s official Facebook page on April 30:
“Dear fans, When James Kottak arrived in Dubai [on] April 3, he ran into problems at immigrations and got busted. Whatever happened is totally out of our control and we don’t know any details about it at this point. For the concerts in Germany, Johan Franzon, a Swedish drummer, will take James’ seat. Please understand, we [will] keep you posted.”
Court reporters said Kottak will be deported within days after his jail term ends. The Gulf News described Kottak’s sentence as “lenient.”