Scorpions drummer jailed in Dubai for insulting Islam

Scorpions drummer James Kottak was sentenced to one month in jail after being convicted of offensive behavior in Dubai. The American drummer for the German band, Scorpions, denied the charges.

(AP Photo/Juan Karita, File)
James Kottak, drummer of the German rock band Scorpions, gestures during the band's farewell tour in La Paz, Bolivia in 2010. The American drummer was sentenced to one month in jail after being convicted of offensive behavior in Dubai.

Newspapers in the United Arab Emirates are reporting that the American drummer for the rock band Scorpions was sentenced to one month in jail after being convicted of offensive behavior in Dubai.

The government-backed National newspaper reported Tuesday that James Kottak was convicted of insulting Islam, raising his middle finger and being under the influence of alcohol while in transit at Dubai airport.

The Gulf News daily says he 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.

The National reported that Kottak said, “What is this disgusting smell?” before he insulted Islam, according to police.

And a customer service employee at the airport, said: “When he saw the Pakistani and Afghan passengers, he covered his nose and said that there was no way he will travel with them.”

He added that the drummer then started swearing repeatedly at the arrivals area of Terminal 2.

Police said in records that when he lowered his trousers he was asking people to touch his behind.

“I don’t remember saying these words and I did not flash my middle finger,” Kottak said to prosecutors.

When asked about taking down his trousers, he said “this is not true – I just lifted my shirt up to show the tattoo on my back” as a “spontaneous act”.

“There is no way that I would say such a phrase about Muslims, whether I was drunk or not,” he told police. “I confess to drinking alcohol but I refuse the other two charges, I did not do them.”

The Scorpions' manager didn't respond to requests for comment. Kottak's local lawyer couldn't immediately be reached. Kottak is expected to be released from jail on May 2 and be deported.

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