UK Court OKs Extradition Over Iran Missile Claims

Published January 13, 2012 11:54AM (EST)

LONDON (AP) — Britain's High Court said Friday a retired businessman who allegedly plotted to sell missile components to Iran should be extradited to the United States.

U.S. authorities say Christopher Tappin offered in 2006 to sell specialized batteries for Hawk missiles for $25,000, not knowing that his contacts were undercover U.S. agents, not Iranians. Two other men have been jailed in Texas over the plot.

A judge ruled last year that 64-year-old Tappin should be extradited. He claims he was entrapped by FBI agents and challenged the decision.

But on Friday two judges upheld the earlier ruling.

Tappin said he is disappointed and will "consider all my options and do what I can to bring an end to this nightmare."

He faces up to 35 years in jail if convicted in the U.S.

Tappin's case is the latest to expose trans-Atlantic tensions over the exchange of criminal suspects.

Lawyers complain that under "fast track" extradition procedures introduced after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the U.S. is not required to offer substantial proof of an allegation when seeking to extradite a suspect from Britain.

But in October, a judge-led review in the U.K. found that extradition agreements between the United States and Britain are fair and unbiased.

Tappin's lawyer, Karen Todner, said she plans to apply for her client's case to be heard by Britain's Supreme Court.

"Yet again this one-sided treaty is set to destroy a British citizen's life," she said. "We would urge the government to take urgent action to review this treaty and stop these horrendous extraditions.

By Salon Staff

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