Extradition date set for Christopher Tappin


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The Independent Online

A retired British businessman who has failed in his appeals over extradition will be sent to the United States on Friday next week, his lawyer said today.

Christopher Tappin, who is accused of conspiring to sell components for Iranian missiles, has been asked to attend Heathrow police station on February 24, when US marshals will escort him in custody to America, his lawyer Karen Todner said.

Tappin failed in a last-ditch plea to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to block extradition earlier this week.

The 64-year-old, from Orpington, south east London, denies unlawfully attempting to export batteries for Hawk air defence missiles and says he was the victim of entrapment in a "sting" organised by US government agents.

His long legal battle through the UK courts to block his removal ended in failure last month when High Court judges Lord Justice Hooper and Mr Justice Cranston refused to allow him to take his case to the Supreme Court.

An application to the human rights judges for "Rule 39" relief staying Tappin's removal pending a further hearing of his case in Europe was made, but was rejected by the Strasbourg-based court on Monday.

Ms Todner, managing director of Kaim Todner Solicitors Ltd, acting for Tappin, said: "The extradition of Christopher Tappin will take place on Friday February 24 2012.

"Mr Tappin has been requested to surrender to Heathrow police station at 9.30am when US marshals will arrive to escort him in custody to America.

"We urge this Government to intervene in this travesty of justice and at least seek reassurances that Mr Tappin will be granted bail upon arrival to the US."

An independent review of the UK's extradition arrangements by Sir Scott Baker last year found that the current treaty between the US and the UK was both balanced and fair.

But critics claim it is one-sided and the latest development will increase pressure on the Government to ignore the review's findings and attempt to change the UK-US extradition treaty.

It comes ahead of a meeting between Prime Minister David Cameron and US president Barack Obama at the White House next month.

A number of other figures in high-profile cases are also fighting extradition to the US, including 23-year-old student Richard O'Dwyer who is accused of breaking American copyright laws.

And the mother of computer hacker Gary McKinnon said he was "unable to control the terror that consumes his every waking moment" as he fights extradition.

Last week, Janis Sharp said the treatment of her son, who admits hacking into military computers but claims he was looking for evidence of UFOs, was "barbaric" as she marked 10 years since his first arrest.

She called for the Prime Minister to raise the issue with Mr Obama next month.