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UK court: Man accused of plotting to sell missile parts to Iran can be extradited to US
LONDON (AP) ' Britain's High Court said Tuesday a retired businessman who allegedly plotted to sell missile components to Iran cannot appeal against his extradition to the United States.
U.S. authorities say Christopher Tappin offered in 2006 to sell specialized batteries for Hawk missiles for $25,000, not knowing that his contacts were undercover U.S. agents, not Iranians. Two other men have been jailed in Texas over the plot.
Tappin denies the charges and says he was the victim of a sting operation by the U.S. government.
A judge ruled last year that 64-year-old Tappin should be extradited.
Two judges said Tuesday that Tappin could not take his fight against extradition to Britain's Supreme Court because his case did not raise legal issues that needed to be considered by a higher court.
Tappin's lawyer Edward Fitzgerald had argued that under European human rights legislation, Tappin should not be extradited because he had to care for his sick wife. The judges ruled that the severity of the charges against Tappin outweighed his right to not be extradited. Tappin faces up to 35 years in jail if convicted in the United States.
Tappin's case is the latest to expose trans-Atlantic tensions over the exchange of criminal suspects.
Lawyers complain that under "fast track" extradition procedures introduced after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the U.S. is not required to offer substantial proof of an allegation when seeking to extradite a suspect from Britain.
But in October, a judge-led review in the U.K. found that extradition agreements between the United States and Britain are fair and unbiased.