Alphen, the Netherlands. 6 March. 65 year old English businessman Christopher Tappin has been denied bail by a US court because he apparently poses "a flight risk". Mr Tappin, who was extradited from England to the US under an unbalanced extradition that blatantly favours Americans, is to be tried for allegedly selling batteries that could be used to fire Iranian missiles. He denies the charges. Not surprisingly Mr Tappin's wife Elaine believes the decision by Judge Robert Castaneda to keep him in custody as "heartbreaking" and an "outrage". The judge had agreed that Mr Tappin could be monitored if released, but still decided to refuse bail citing what he described as discrepancies in Mr Tappin's financial statement.
Sadly, the British Government is doing nothing to ease Mr Tappin's plight which is fast bordering on the cruel and inhumane punishment banned under English law. This is not least because no date has been set for his trial, he is solitary in confinement, allowed out from his cell only one hour in twenty four, denied reading materials and forced to sleep with lights shining day and night. He has also been refused effective communication with his defence team to prepare for his trial.
For those of us who have been life-long supporters of the United States, believers in American justice and who have defended America from its many critics Mr Tappin's appalling treatment must force a re-consideration. London feebly suggests that the matter is now entirely for the US courts to decide. Apparently, the human rights of English people abroad is no longer of interest to Her Majesty's Government. Indeed, it now seems Mr Tappin is being unjustly punished by the Americans precisely to make a point that in the US we English are seen as second-class citizens. There is at least some consistency in this because we English are also seen as second-class citizens in Britain too these days.