Family to visit extradited Briton
The family of a retired British businessman who has been granted bail after being extradited to the United States over arms dealing charges plan to visit him as soon as possible, his wife said.
Elaine Tappin said she was relieved and "grateful for the judge's humanity" after her 65-year-old husband Christopher was granted bail in Texas.
His family must now pay 50,000 US dollars (£31,026) to secure his release on a one million dollar bond (£620,527) later this week.
Mrs Tappin, 62, of Orpington, Kent, said her husband had been "unnecessarily locked up" for more than eight weeks and "abandoned by the authorities in his own country".
By releasing him on bail, the judge had given him an opportunity to challenge the allegations made against him, she said. He faces up to 35 years in jail if convicted of trying to sell batteries for surface-to-air missiles to Iran. He denies the charges.
In a statement released to the Press Association, Mrs Tappin said: "We are so relieved at Chris's release and are grateful for the judge's humanity in granting him bail. Chris has been unnecessarily locked up for over eight weeks in the middle of the New Mexico desert, abandoned by the authorities in his own country, without even having had a chance to clear his name.
"At least now he can begin to examine the prosecution's case with his lawyers and prepare to challenge at trial the allegations which he denies." She added: "We have not yet had the opportunity to speak to him but we are making arrangements to visit him as soon as we can."
Mrs Tappin went on: "I would like to thank all those many people, most of whom we do not know, who have written to us, to their MPs, to the Home Office, and spoken out about Chris's ordeal. Their support has been invaluable and of great comfort to us as we waited day by day for his bail to be granted. We truly hope this support can be channelled into forcing a change in the extradition laws.
"British citizens should not be packaged off thousands of miles away from home without having seen the evidence against them, without having been able to challenge the decision on jurisdiction for trial in the British courts, and before the country who seeks them is ready to go to trial to avoid prolonged periods of unnecessary pre-trial incarceration. Extradition without these safeguards is, quite simply, a betrayal of justice."
Tappin, the former president of the Kent Golf Union, was told last month that he must remain in custody while he awaits trial in El Paso, Texas. He spent 23 hours a day locked in his cell at Otero County detention centre in New Mexico before being moved to a shared cell. He will be freed later this week and could be released on bail as early as Tuesday, his US lawyer Kent Schaffer said.