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American convicted of indecent gesture after removing his pants at airport
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
“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
The witnesses claimed the defendant was covering his nose in order not
to smell them. He was also heard cursing flydubai, Muslims and the
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
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
According to Tuesday’s ruling, Kottak was handed a lenient punishment due to the circumstances of the case.
Kottak will be deported following the completion of his jail term.
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. He will be deported soon as he has been in custody since April 3.
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“The judgement is always handed out upon a judge’s discretion," the chief prosecutor told Gulf News. "The accused committed a serious crime."
He said prosecutors asked the court to implement the Penal Code’s article 312 and 313.
"Just like any other case, the Appeal Section is currently studying the
primary judgement’s reasoning and most likely would be considering an
appeal for a harsher punishment."
The time frame -- 15 days -- to do so started on Tuesday.
"Prosecutors could ask the Appeal Court for a sterner punishment
compatible with the severity of the crime … according to article 312, a
suspect, who curses a religion in public, could face a minimum one year
in jail and/or a fine."
Meanwhile Kottak’s lawyer Hamid Al Khazraji told Gulf News:
“We have a 15-day period to decide on whether to appeal the verdict or
not. However it is up to our client to decide on that. We sought to
acquit him and he received the most lenient punishment.”
In case Kottak does not go for an appeal then he might be leaving the
UAE within a day or two considering that he would have already served
his month-long imprisonment, said Al Khazraji.
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