Rock Band Scorpions' Drummer Sentenced to Prison in Dubai for 'Insulting Islam'

Rock Band Scorpions' Drummer Sentenced to Prison in Dubai for 'Insulting Islam'

James Kottak, drummer for the legendary hair metal band The Scorpions, has been arrested in Dubai for a number of charges stemming from several drinks in which he partook at Dubai’s airport on the way to Bahrain: insulting Islam, raising his middle finger in public, drinking without a license, and exposing his behind.

According to Dubai English-language newspaper The National, Kottak was arrested on April 3 and has been in custody since. As a judge sentenced him to one month in prison, he will be released soon due to time served. The paper claims that Kottak confessed to having “five glasses of wine” before going over to his flight’s gate. On the way, he is accused of a series of insulting behaviors: witnesses say he began holding his nose at the sight of southeast Asian travelers, “started swearing and talking about ‘non-educated Muslims,’ then flashed his middle finger at Pakistani passengers. Police said he also exposed his behind.” A witness said that he did not speak to any passengers specifically, but insisted that he “would not travel” with Pakistani and Afghan individuals, making hand gestures that seemed to indicate that he did not like the way they smelled.

Kottak has pled guilty to the charge of drinking without a license, which is required in the United Arab Emirates, for which he paid a fine. He categorically denied most of the other charges, however, especially those alleging that he discriminated against Muslims. He explained that he did not expose his behind but was instead trying to display his back tattoo, “a spontaneous act.”

As for the comments on Muslims, Kottak is quoted as saying: “There is no way that I would say such a phrase about Muslims, whether I was drunk or not… I confess to drinking alcohol but I refuse the other two charges, I did not do them.”

The National report is the only such existing account of what occurred. Representatives of The Scorpions did not return requests for comment from the Associated Press, and Kottak himself, of course, has not made any public statements since his arrest on April 3. On his Twitter account, he indicated that he was traveling to Bahrain to perform at a Formula 1 race there. The Scorpions have previously provided entertainment at Mikhail Gorbachev’s birthday party in 2011.