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Wife of extradited businessman Christopher Tappin breaks down before MPs
3:32pm Tuesday 28th February 2012 in Crime
THE wife of a retired Orpington businessman extradited to the US for alleged arms dealing has broken down in tears as she spoke of her despair that nobody was prepared to listen to his defence before "carting him off".
Elaine Tappin said she could not believe her husband Christopher, 65, was not given the chance to put his side of the case before losing his two-year battle against being sent to America last week.
She was giving evidence to MPs in London as Tappin, who faces up to 35 years in jail if convicted of selling batteries for Iranian missiles, faced his first appearance in a US courtroom.
Mrs Tappin, 62, of Farnborough Park, broke down in tears as she described how her family felt "incredulity, frustration, heartrending sadness, despair and utter disbelief" as they faced a "wholly uncertain future".
In a written statement which Mrs Tappin was unable to finish reading, she went on: "At the heart of our despair is the fact that nobody was prepared to listen to Chris's defence before carting him off. They ticked the boxes but were deaf and blind to the possibility of injustice. Chris is simply another statistic."
Mrs Tappin, who has chronic Churg-Strauss Syndrome, was accompanied by her son, Neil, when she appeared before the MPs on the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee.
Tappin, who had been caring for her prior to his extradition, has said he was "not very confident at all" about his case, primarily because his UK-based witnesses will not travel to the US and the American authorities do not allow video interrogation.
Before being forced to leave Britain under the controversial UK-US treaty, Tappin said he had been failed by the Government, branding the decision to extradite him a "disgrace". He argued that the radical cleric Abu Qatada, who poses a threat to the UK's national security, had "more rights than I have" after he was allowed to stay in the UK.
The president of the Kent Golf Union, who is currently in custody, is due in court in El Paso, Texas, for a procedural hearing at 2.30pm local time (8.30pm GMT).
He is likely to be remanded in custody for three days when a bail hearing will take place, according to lawyers.
Tappin denies attempting to sell batteries for surface-to-air missiles which were to be shipped from the US to Tehran via the Netherlands. He has said that, for justice to be done, he should be tried by a jury of his peers in the UK, not a jury 3,000 miles away.