US extradited Orpington businessman Christopher Tappin due be released today or tomorrow

10:32 25 April 2012

Christopher Tappin

Christopher Tappin

Archant

US extradited Orpington businessman Christopher Tappin is expected to be bailed today or tomorrow.

His family have spoken of their relief at the American judge’s decision but his wife Elaine accused the British authorities of “abandoning” her husband.

The 64-year-old, of Larch Dene, has spent eight weeks in New Mexico’s Otero Prison but was bailed on Monday after submitting a $1million bond.

The former Kent County Golf Union president is accused of selling parts which the US claim he knew were to be used in Iranian missiles.

He denies all charges and says he was entrapped. If he is found guilty he faces up to 35 years in jail.

Mrs Tappin, his wife of 37 years, said: “We are so relieved at Chris’ release and are grateful for the judge’s humanity in granting him bail.

“Chris has been unnecessarily locked up for over eight weeks in the middle of the New Mexico desert, abandoned by the authorities in his own country, without even having had a chance to clear his name.”

Before his extradition, Mr Tappin told the Bromley Times it was the ‘fear of the unknown’ which he was most afraid of.

He added: “The extradition treaty with the US is one of the cruellest and unjust pieces of legislation the UK government has ever produced.”

He has previously appeared in US court in a prison jumpsuit and walking in shackles.

Mrs Tappin said the family plan to visit him soon. She added: “I would like to thank all those many people most of whom we do not know, who have written to us, to their MPs, to the Home Office, and spoken out about Chris’ ordeal.

“We truly hope this support can be channelled into forcing a change in the extradition laws.

“British citizens should not be packaged off thousands of miles away from home without having seen the evidence against them and before the country who seeks them is ready to go to trial to avoid prolonged periods of pre-trial incarceration. Extradition without these safeguards is, quite simply, a betrayal of justice.”

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