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1st immigrant of Armenian descent on US bench retiring

December 19, 2017

CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. District Court for northern Illinois says the first immigrant of Armenian descent to sit on the federal bench is retiring.

The Chicago-based court announced Monday that 65-year-old Samuel Der-Yeghiayan’s (YAY’-gee-yahnz) retirement takes effect Feb. 17.

He’s overseen several high-profile cases. In October, he sentenced former college student Abdella Ahmad Tounisi (too-NEE’-see) to a maximum 15-year prison term for seeking to join terrorist-linked militants fighting Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria.

Der-Yeghiayan was himself born in Aleppo, Syria, to Armenian parents. He grew up in Lebanon and at 19 moved to the U.S. Then-President George W. Bush named him to his court seat in 2003.

Federal judges have the option of partially retiring and taking fewer cases. But Der-Yeghiayan is fully retiring. His cases will be reassigned to other judges.

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