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Iraq human rights lawyer Phil Shiner should be behind bars, says MP Sir Julian Brazier

A disgraced lawyer whose firm earned £1.6 million making false allegations against British soldiers should be prosecuted for treason, a Kent MP has demanded.

Professor Phil Shiner was last week struck off after a disciplinary tribunal found he acted dishonestly in bringing murder and torture claims against troops.

But Canterbury and Whitstable MP Sir Julian Brazier has called for more action, branding the 60-year-old human rights lawyer a disgrace and saying he should be behind bars.

Phil Shiner
Phil Shiner

Shiner’s firm Public Interest Law (PIL) brought the majority of the 3,380 allegations of abuse against British soldiers who had served in the Iraq War, which began in 2003.

Not a single case subsequently brought to the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) resulted in a prosecution.

“That the legal profession has struck Shiner off should just be the start,” said Sir Julian, a former defence minister and Territorial Army serviceman.

“This man should be prosecuted for treason. He has behaved disgracefully and should be in prison.

“He has attempted the prosecution of British soldiers who have records for gallantry and some who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“His firms were effectively dispensing public money in order to bring false court cases against the British military.”

Shiner, a member of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, was struck off last week after a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal hearing into his activities.

It heard that PIL received £1.6 million in taxpayers’ money after employing a fixer in Iraq to drum up allegations of murder and torture. These were then presented to IHAT.

A former TA officer, Sir Julian Brazier pictured (right) is a keen supporter of the armed forces
A former TA officer, Sir Julian Brazier pictured (right) is a keen supporter of the armed forces

Sir Julian believes the entire system is flawed and should be wound up.

“No other country has done anything like this,” he said. “We have a perfectly good military justice system which should be used if there are allegations against personnel.

“IHAT was created under Tony Blair’s government and it allowed left-wing socialist solicitors free rein to pursue these prosecutions.

“I firmly believe that we should put an end to IHAT and its Afghan equivalent.”

Meanwhile, the University of Kent has confirmed it is reviewing the honorary Doctor of Law it awarded Shiner in 2012.

He received the honour “in recognition of his contribution to public interest law” one year after representing the family of an Iraqi civilian beaten to death by British soldiers in 2003.

He used that as a springboard to make further allegations.

University spokesman Gary Hughes said: “In light of the recent decision by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, the university can confirm that it has initiated a review of Phil Shiner’s award.”

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