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Charity: Tappin could face 'terrifying' conditions in jail

While the situation is not the same in every American prison, our staff have to deal daily with the devastating emotional and psychological effects on people and their families of the struggle to survive in often dangerous and terrifying conditions in United States prisons ...

Prisoners Abroad supports and advises many prisoners and their families through the transfer application process, and recognises that serving a sentence on home soil can spare prisoners and their families great emotional strain.

– Pauline Crowe, Chief Executive, Prisoners Abroad

Christopher Tappin given 33-month sentence by US court

Extradited British businessman Christopher Tappin has been given a 33-month prison sentence for arms dealing after striking a deal with prosecutors in the US.

Christopher Tappin Credit: ITV News

He is likely to serve at least some of his sentence in the US while he awaits permission for a transfer to a prison in the UK.

Tappin previously denied attempting to sell batteries for surface-to-air missiles which were to be shipped from the US to Tehran via the Netherlands.


Tappin had expected to spend retirement on golf course

Christopher Tappin with wife Elaine in February last year. Credit: PA

A keen golfer, 65-year-old Tappin was enjoying his retirement and role as president of the Kent County Golf Union, which represents the county's 95 clubs.

His passion for golf is something he shares with son Neil, who is deputy editor of Golf Monthly magazine.

But a US sting operation that led to Tappin being accused of selling batteries for surface-to-air missiles to Iran shattered the Tappin family's apparently idyllic lives.

After a two-year legal battle, the retired businessman was extradited to Texas to stand trial.

The grandfather is said to have kept himself sane by practising golf, using his walking stick as a club and rolled-up tissues as a ball.

Tappin was given a reprieve from the windowless walls when he was released on bail in April.

Tappin could have faced 35 years without plea bargain

Before his plea bargain agreement, Tappin had denied attempting to sell batteries for surface-to-air missiles which were to be shipped from the US to Tehran via the Netherlands.

He was originally thought to have faced up to 35 years in jail if found guilty.

His guilty plea, to one count of the indictment, calls for a 33-month sentence which prosecutors have said they will not oppose him serving back in the UK.

Extradited Christopher Tappin to be sentenced

Christopher Tappin pictured at Heathrow Airport in February 2012. Credit: PA

Extradited Briton Christopher Tappin will be sentenced today for arms dealing after striking a deal with US prosecutors.

Tappin, 66, pleaded guilty last year to one count of aiding and abetting the illegal export of defence articles and faces a 33-month sentence under a so-called plea bargain.

US District Judge David Briones is expected to formally approve the plea deal at a court hearing in El Paso, Texas, at 11pm local time (6pm GMT).


Elaine Tappin: 'Plea deal is beginning of swift and safe return'

Christopher Tappin will be sentenced on 9th of January. In addition to the prison term of 33 months Tappin's plea deal includes a fine of $11,357.14 - the projected profit he stood to gain if his illegal activity had been brought to fruition.

He was originally thought to have faced up to 35 years in jail if found guilty.

His wife Elaine, 62, said ahead of today's hearing that "however upsetting" a plea deal was, it marked the beginning of his "swift and safe return" to the UK.

Solicitor: Tappin's guilty plea 'should come as no surprise'

Christopher Tappin's solicitor said his decision to enter into a plea agreement "should come as no surprise".

A statement said:

Ninety eight percent of people who enter the US Justice system enter into a plea agreement.

The odds are so heavily stacked against a defendant who chooses to plead not guilty and then is subsequently found guilty that the vast majority of people facing trial in the US opt to take a plea agreement. Therefore this decision should come as no surprise.

In addition the US Prosecutor has within his discretion the decision as to whether any custodial sentence can be served in the UK. If the US prosecutor declares following a conviction, that repatriation should not tkane place then it is almost impossible to obtain.

Lastly the legal fees in defending a case in the US are extremely expensive.

I hope that following this decision to enter into a plea agreement Mr Tappin will be able to return to the UK as soon as possible to rejoin his family.

– Karen Todner, Solicitor
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