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Bail hearing for arms charge Briton

British businessman Christopher Tappin has made his first appearance in court after being extradited to the US.

Mr Tappin, 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.

On Tuesday night 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 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.

Mr Tappin's son Neil told BBC Breakfast: "One of the distressing things for us is that the US government are going to be opposing bail for him because they feel as if he's a flight risk. He surrendered himself to Heathrow airport last Friday in a very, very dignified way, actually. For them to be opposing bail seems quite strange.

"He's 65 years old, he has 250 dollars to his name out there, you know, he's never been in any sort of trouble with the law before so he's not the sort of person who's going to get up and run away. We'd love for our Home Office to actually try and finally do something to help us on this and try and secure bail for him, really."

Mr Tappin junior said his family are struggling to cope and have barely spoken to their father since he left the UK. He said: "We haven't heard a lot from him, actually, which has probably been one of the most distressing things about the whole thing. Mum managed to speak to him last night, thankfully. She called her lawyer and he was actually with Dad and the lawyer put Dad on to the phone and they spoke for literally 10 seconds and found out that he was OK."


From Belfast Telegraph