Jailed Scorpions drummer could be released today

James Kottak was arrested for getting drunk, cursing, making an indecent gesture and removing his pants at Dubai airport
By Beatrice Thomas
Thu 01 May 2014 12:31 PM

The jailed drummer of German rock band Scorpions, which played at this year's Bahrain F1 after party, could reportedly be released as early as today.

James Kottak missed the Bahrain gig on April 5 after being arrested for getting drunk, cursing Muslims, making an indecent gesture to a group of passengers and removing his pants at Dubai airport, it was reported on Tuesday.

He was subsequently jailed for one month in Dubai.

According to Dubai daily Gulf News, Kottak was arrested at Dubai airport on April 3 and was in transit to Bahrain from Russia.

However, the daily has since quoted his lawyer, Hamid Al Khazraji, as saying that he could complete his jail term on May 1 or 2.

“His ticket was booked and purchased today after I had paid his fine on the alcohol consumption charges,” he was quoted as saying.

Kottak was fined AED2,000 ($544) for drinking and will be deported after serving his sentence.

He admitted to drinking, but denied gesturing indecently in public and cursing Muslims, the paper said.

Kottak's absence from the Bahrain gig when he was replaced by Mark Cross sparked questions on fan sites.

Al Khazraji told Gulf News the case proved the need for a review of the UAE’s liquor licence laws, saying the alcohol was consumed on the plane, but then the drinking issue was highlighted once in Dubai.

“A temporary permit given to the tourist and maybe even the transit passenger would help clear the confusion in this area, which will also result in boosting tourism,” he said.

It echoes similar calls from leading Emirati lawyer Yousef Al Baher, who told Arabian Business last year that the current system was confusing.

Al Baher said residents were made aware of the need to obtain an alcohol licence, but tourists may not realise they also technically needed one.

However, he said given the application process involved – with applicants required to prove they are non-Muslim, aged 21 or older and earning more than AED3,000 per month – it was impossible for tourists to obtain a licence.

“Why don’t we give them temporary [alcohol] cards for all visitors,” he said.

Al Baher said the government could charge a small fee for the licence, which could be provided on arrival at Dubai airport.

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