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Court appearance for extradited Orpington businessman Christopher Tappin
ORPINGTON businessman Christopher Tappin has made his first appearance in court after being extradited to the US.
Tappin, of Farnborough Park, who lost his two-year battle against being sent to America last week, faces up to 35 years in jail if convicted over arms dealing charges.
Last night (February 28) he appeared for a five-minute preliminary hearing in the federal court in El Paso, Texas, and was remanded in custody to appear for a bail hearing on Friday.
Attorney General Dominic Grieve said his extradition had highlighted problems with the treaty between the UK and US, which are not "readily curable".
He warned that Britons were left uneasy when faced with the seemingly harsh and disproportionate sentences in the American justice system.
Mr Grieve admitted the UK's extradition laws were not ideal, but said: "In a world where we wish to see crime successfully combated, having a system by which to facilitate transfer to countries which meet the necessary criteria of fairness so as to curb crime is absolutely indispensable."
Mr Grieve was speaking as he gave evidence to MPs, minutes after Tappin's wife Elaine, 62, broke down in tears as she told them of her despair that nobody was prepared to listen to his defence before "carting him off".
Mrs Tappin told the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee's review of extradition arrangements that her family felt "incredulity, frustration, heartrending sadness, despair and utter disbelief" as they faced a "wholly uncertain future".
Mrs Tappin says she has still not been able to talk to her husband since he was extradited and he was being held in isolation, "locked up for 23 hours a day".
Tappin, the president of the Kent Golf Union, denies attempting to sell batteries for surface-to-air missiles which were to be shipped from the US to Tehran via the Netherlands.