Charles Swift, Director & Counsel

Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America

Main:    (972) 914-2507

Direct:  (972) 914-2511

Email: cswift [at]


Khalil Meek, Executive Director

Muslim Legal Fund of America, Inc.

Tel:    (972) 231-9021 ext. 115

Cell:     (972) 849-9188

Email: kmeek [at]


Katherine Hughes

Dr. Dhafir Support Committee

Tel: (315) 479 6897

Email: khughes [at]


Retired Lieutenant Commander of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Charles Swift, To Represent Upstate New York Doctor Rafil Dhafir. Dhafir is in His Twelfth Year of a 22-Year Prison Sentence for Sending Humanitarian Aid to Iraqi Civilians During the U.S. and U.K.-led U.N. Sanctions.

 Swift is best known for his defense of Salim Hamdan, the first detainee to be charged at Guantanamo Bay. Hamdan v. Rumsfeld challenged the constitutionality of the military tribunals and the legal treatment of detainees at Guantanamo. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court where it was decided in Hamdan’s favor.

After retiring from the U.S. Navy in 2007 as a Lieutenant Commander of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Swift worked in private practice in Seattle. Earlier this year he was hired by the Muslim Legal Fund of America (M.L.F.A.) to serve as Director and Counsel of the newly formed Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America (C.L.C.M.A). C.L.C.M.A is the newest project of the M.L.F.A., a charity that funds legal work and programs to defend Muslims against injustice in American courtrooms, prisons, and communities. Established in 2001, M.L.F.A. has defended freedom of speech, association, religion, the right to a fair trial, and other constitutional rights.

 Muslim charities and individuals connected with these charities have been among the biggest targets of the U.S. government in the post-9/11 period. Dhafir was arrested in February 2003, just weeks before the start of the Iraq war, and was charged with International Emergency Economic Powers Act (I.E.E.P.A.) violation (commonly known as the sanctions). His crime: sending food and medicine, through his charity Help the Needy (H.T.N.), to starving Iraqi civilians during the brutal embargo on that country.

Sanctions initiated against Iraq in 1991 were the most severe in human history, and resulted in the premature deaths of well over a million Iraqi people. The American government’s refusal to lift them, despite worldwide appeals, led to the high-profile resignations of U.N. humanitarian coordinators Denis Halliday and Hans Von Sponeck. When Halliday resigned in 1998, he stated: “I’ve been using the word ‘genocide’ because this is a deliberate policy to destroy the people of Iraq. I’m afraid I have no other view.”

The federal government repeatedly pitched Dhafir’s case to the media as one that had national security implications, yet no charges of funding terrorism, nor charges of any other aspect of terrorism, were ever brought against Dhafir. On the day of Dhafir’s sentencing the New York Civil Liberties Union (N.Y.C.L.U.) issued a statement that said,

“Every person charged with a crime in the U.S. deserves and is entitled to fair and equal treatment under the law. In many ways, Dr. Dhafir was presumed guilty long before the trial began, and of much more than indicated by the charges filed against him. For the N.Y.C.L.U., this case raises serious questions as to whether Muslims accused or charged with crimes in the U.S. can truly receive a fair trial. Our government should not tout the conviction of Dr. Dhafir or the harsh sentence imposed by the court as a “win,” or as any kind of advancement in national security. When ‘justice” is pursued with religious and ethnic prejudice, and through actions that intimidate and isolate an entire community, there is no victory – there can be no advancement in national security, or faith in the promise of equal treatment under law.”

Dhafir has been without a lawyer for the last year and on November 4th, 2014, he submitted a 2255 habeas corpus motion by himself. Swift has since taken over as counsel.

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