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ORPINGTON: MP backs golf club president in US extradition fight
ORPINGTON MP Jo Johnson has hit out at a treaty which could see a retired businessman from his constituency extradited to the US.
Christopher Tappin, who is president of Kent County Golf Union, is currently fighting extradition to the US over claims he sold batteries for surface-to-air missiles to Iran.
The 63-year-old, from Orpington, denies the allegations and is reported to face an extradition hearing in two weeks.
Mr Johnson, who spoke with Mr Tappin last week, says the current treaty between the UK and US is “one-sided and unbalanced”.
He said: “The coalition government has announced a review which I understand will start in September.
“I’m pressing the Home Secretary Theresa May and the Attorney General Dominic Grieve to ensure the review reflects the concerns people have over its one-sided nature.
“There’s a fundamental imbalance and inequity which the review should take on board.”
Mr Johnson, brother of Mayor of London Boris Johnson, said: “The US doesn’t have to provide prima facie evidence when making a request for a person to be extradited.
“We need to put safeguards back into UK law to make sure we are only extraditing people when necessary.
“If the US authorities believe Christopher Tappin to be guilty of a crime they must first produce the evidence in a British court.”
Shami Chakrabarti, who is director of human rights campaigners Liberty, said: “This new case must remind the government to honour the promises of both coalition parties in opposition and review our rotten Extradition Act.
“If Mr Tappin really has been up to no good in Orpington, let the authorities come up with hard evidence in a British court.
“Until the Act is amended to put fairness back in the system, no-one who indulges in foreign holidays, business dealings or mere use of the internet is safe from being shipped off like freight on the basis of allegations from around the world.”