Christopher Tappin condemns treatment as US extradition under way

 

February 2012 Last updated at 07:05 ET

Christopher Tappin: “I looked to Mr Cameron to look after (quan tâm) my rights and he failed to do that”

A Briton being extradited to the US for allegedly selling batteries for Iranian missiles described his treatment as “a disgrace (điểu đáng xấu hổ)” as he arrived at Heathrow.

Retired businessman Christopher Tappin had said he was leaving the UK feeling he had fewer rights than a terrorist.

Mr Tappin, 65, from London, is being flown from Heathrow Airport to El Paso, Texas, escorted by US marshals (cảnh sát trưởng).

British judges say the extradition is lawful and the European Court of Human Rights (Tòa án Nhân quyền) has refused to intervene (can thiệp).

Mr Tappin, of Orpington, south-east London, has fought against extradition (dẫn độ) through the British courts after being charged in the US with conspiring to (âm mưu) export batteries which could be used in Hawk air defence missiles.

He faces a trial in El Paso and a possible 35-year jail sentence – but says that he is the victim of entrapment (vụ gài bẩy).

Mr Tappin’s lawyer, Karen Todner, said it was “very likely” her client (thân chủ) would now enter into a plea agreement (thỏa thuận ) to reduce a sentence.

Lawyer Karen Todner: “He will be wearing an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs”

“If Mr Tappin does not enter into a plea agreement and is found guilty he will have to serve the whole sentence (thụ án) in America, which may actually effectively be the rest of his life, rather than serving a sentence in the UK, therefore I think it’s very very likely that he will enter into a plea agreement,” she said.

Last week the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene in his case. Mr Tappin, a former president of the Kent Golf Society, was ordered to present himself to Heathrow Airport to be taken to the US for trial.

He was seen departing from his house around 08:00 GMT and arrived at Heathrow police station accompanied by his wife Elaine.

Shortly after 10.30am, Mr Tappin’s lawyer said British extradition officers (nhân viên dẫn độ) had taken Mr Tappin to a plane where he was being handed over (chuyển giao cho) to US marshals. The flight was due to land in Texas around 16:00 local time (23:00 GMT).

“He will be arriving in El Paso this afternoon. He will be appearing in court (ra tòa) on Monday morning, so he will be in custody (bị giam) over the weekend.” The earliest he could be granted bail (được bảo lãnh) would be Thursday or Friday, Ms Todner said.

She urged Home Secretary Theresa May to help Mr Tappin intervene with the US authorities to ensure they did not object to bail being granted.

Ms Todner later wrote on Twitter: “Mr Tappin has left for America. Was v distressing when he said goodbye. The extradition treaty is inhumane.”

Arriving at the airport, Mr Tappin told reporters it was “a shame, a disgrace” that he was being extradited.

 

Analysis Dominic Casciani Home affairs correspondent


British judges say the US has lawfully sought Mr Tappin’s extradition under the terms of treaty between the two countries. But critics say the law is stacked against (chèn ép đối với) British citizens.

In Mr Tappin’s case, a key legal issue is whether he, as a British importer, should be tried in the UK given he was running his business in the country. The second issue is a complaint of entrapment – something the Court of Appeal dismissed.

The biggest complaint is that British judges cannot properly test the case behind an extradition request. A massive review (= thorough examination) of extradition led by a senior judge said critics misunderstand how the legal safeguards work.

But the symbolism of a retired businessman swapping a golf club blazer (áo sơ mi câu lạc bộ đánh gôn) for prison overalls (áo tù) won’t silence (làm im tiếng) those who want the government to rethink (xét lại) the deal with America.

Speaking on Wednesday, Prime Minister David Cameron said that Mr Tappin’s case had been thoroughly considered by the Home Secretary (Bộ trưởng Bộ Nội vụ) Theresa May – but that she was also looking carefully at the full findings of last year’s extradition review.

Mr Tappin said: “I look to Mr Cameron to look after my rights and he has failed to do so,” he said.

“The Conservative government, while in opposition, promised to reform the law and they failed to do so and they’ve let me down (làm thất vọng ), they’ve let you down, they’ve let the whole country down.”

Mr Tappin said he was “not very confident at all” about the case because his witnesses were not permitted to testify via video and would not appear in person in the US.

“I have certainly got enough facts to support my case but without the witnesses, their testimony, it’s going to be very difficult,” he said.

“We believe there is no evidence (không có bằng chứng)… By virtue of (bằng, dựa vào) an accusation they are allowed to extradite people from one country to another.”


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