Orpington: Christopher Tappin interview before US extradition

13:23 22 February 2012

Christopher Tappin

Christopher Tappin

Archant

“It is the fear of the unknown that is the most troubling. What happens when I arrive in the US? I simply don’t know. When will I be able to speak to my wife again?”

These are the harrowing words of Orpington businessman Christopher Tappin who spoke exclusively to the Bromley Times on Tuesday, just three days before his extradition to Texas tomorrow (Friday).

The former president of Kent Golf Union is accused of selling batteries the FBI says he knew were for Iranian missiles, but Mr Tappin denies all the charges and claims he was entrapped.

If he is found guilty, the 64-year-old, of Larch Dene, Farnborough, faces 35 years in jail.

The retired grandfather, who married 37 years ago, said: “When will I be able to speak to my wife again? We haven’t been told. We will say goodbye on Friday morning and know nothing other than I will be in a US jail as soon as the Americans can get me there, pending a bail application.

“I have two wonderful children and a delightful grandson who turned five last week. We are a close-knit family. Everyone has been knocked sideways by this.

“It is up to the US marshalls if I am able to take a change of clothes, a book and toiletries. I simply don’t know.”

Mr Tappin lost a High Court appeal against his extradition in January and was denied a Supreme Court appeal earlier this month.

In opposition both David Cameron and Nick Clegg said they would reform the US/UK treaty which favours American citizens.

Mr Tappin added: “The US extradition treaty is one of the cruellest and most unjust pieces of legislation the UK government has ever produced.

“During my appeal in the High Court, Lord Justice Hooper repeatedly said, ‘we are not talking innocence or guilt here’. Why on earth not? Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

“The golfing community locally and nationally has been extremely supportive. We have been overwhelmed by the kind and generous support of West Kent Golf Club members. Nobody can believe this dreadful injustice can happen here.”

Mr Tappin will be flown to a high security jail in Texas tomorrow.

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