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Scorpions Drummer Jailed After Airport Incident

Dominik Bindi, Getty Images

Now we know why drummer James Kottak missed the Scorpions‘ performance earlier this month at the 2014 Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix — he was in jail.

The 51-year-old reportedly consumed five glasses of wine on an April 3 flight to Dubai, and then allegedly began shouting derogatory remarks at other passengers once arriving at the airport. Kottak is now spending a month in a Dubai jail, after being convicted this morning of insulting Islam.

Witnesses claimed that Kottak “started swearing and talking about ‘non-educated Muslims’ before he flashed his middle finger at passengers.” Police also said the drummer lowered his pants, exposing his rear. Another witness, who worked at the airport, added: “When he saw the Pakistani and Afghani passengers, he covered his nose and said that there was no way he will travel with them.”

Kottak, who has been in custody since April 3, denied the allegations: “I don’t remember saying these words and I did not flash my middle finger. … There is no way that I would say such a phrase about Muslims, whether I was drunk or not.” He also denied pulling down his pants. “This is not true. I just lifted my shirt up to show the tattoo on my back” as a “spontaneous act.”

In addition to his one-month sentence, Kottak was fined approximately $545 for drinking alcohol without a license. “I confess to drinking alcohol,” he said, “but I refuse the other two charges. I did not do them.”

Kottak was previously in Kingdom Come, a former opening act for the recently unretired Scorpions. Helloween’s Mark Cross filled in for Kottak during the April 5 Scorpions performance at the Formula One concert.

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