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Lt. Cmdr. Charles SwiftLt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, defense counsel for Salim Ahmed Hamdan in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that struck down the U.S. government's use of military commissions to try Guantanamo detainees, will be the keynote speaker at Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center’s 11th Annual Midwest Light of Human Rights Awards on Friday, June 4, 2010, at the Fairmont Chicago Hotel, 200 North Columbus Drive.

More than 500 leaders from Chicago’s legal, business, civic, religious, and NGO communities are anticipated to attend the luncheon, which is co-chaired by Natalia Delgado of Huron Consulting Group and Kelly Welsh of Northern Trust Bank.

Hamdan v. Rumsfeld recognized the U.S. Supreme Court’s authority to review the detention of Guantanamo detainees and held that the military commissions violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Convention. Named by the National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America in 2006, Lt. Cmdr. Swift represented more than 150 service members in military justice proceedings prior to retiring from the Army in 2007.

Three awards will be presented at the event, honoring the work of organizations and individuals who defend and promote human rights. The honorees are: The Sisters of Mercy, Exelon Corporation and attorney Duane Sigelko, a partner at Reed Smith LLP.

For ticket and sponsorship opportunities, visit or contact Pearl Pickett via email or phone at (312) 660-1326.

About NIJC:

NIJC provides direct legal services to and advocates for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers through policy reform, impact litigation, and public education. Within the last 18 months, NIJC staff and more than 1,000 pro bono attorneys have:

  • provided legal consultations and/or representation to more than 10,000 immigrants, including 238 asylum seekers seeking protection from persecution in their home countries and 680 victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, and other crimes in obtaining protection under immigration law
  • maintained a 90% success rate in its representation of asylum cases
  • litigated cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals advocating for due process and interpretation of immigration laws that ensure access to protection
  • provided legal orientation presentations to more than 2,000 adults and unaccompanied immigrant children in federal custody throughout the Midwest, and legal services to more than 50% of those individuals
  • coordinated the development of a “blueprint” of recommendations for immigration reform for use by President Obama’s transition team
  • served as an expert resource to members of Congress and the media regarding the need for reform of the immigration system

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