Former UI student to be deported

Former UI student to be deported

URBANA — A teenager from Saudi Arabia who had been studying at the University of Illinois was turned over to federal authorities for deportation Thursday afternoon.

State's Attorney Julia Rietz said Dany Sammak, 19, who had been charged in three separate criminal cases in the last month, was released to an agent from the Department of Homeland Security after appearing before Judge John Kennedy.

Rietz said the idea was for Sammak to get mental health treatment at his family's expense in his own country instead of holding him in the Champaign County jail.

"There were arrangements made with assistance of the UI police department, the UI administration, federal authorities, Sammak's attorney and family to have him deported back to Saudi Arabia so he can get the mental health treatment he needs through his family," Rietz said.

Sammak first came to the attention of the state's attorney's office about a month ago when he was arrested for allegedly threatening fellow members of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity at 211 E. Armory Ave., C.

Those comments, which included references to the Virginia Tech mass shootings, prompted the state to file a disorderly conduct charge against him Sept. 3.

Sammak posted bond in that case and was released a few days later, only to be arrested again for allegedly exhibiting strange behavior at the Urbana Walmart on Sept. 26 and spitting on a Carle security officer at the hospital early the next morning.

He was also arrested in connection with another late September incident in which he was walking in the middle of Wright Street and got into a confrontation with UI police who tried to talk to him. The tussle resulted in an injury to one officer's finger.

The latter two cases prompted the state to file charges of resisting a peace officer and aggravated battery to a peace officer.

Rietz said Sammak had posted bond on two of his three cases but Judge John Kennedy denied a defense request Thursday to lower the $250,000 bond on the aggravated battery case. The state's attorney's office then dismissed that case so that the federal authorities could take Sammak to Springfield to begin deportation proceedings.

Rietz said Sammak's mother was in court Thursday with the federal agent.

Procedurally, Rietz explained that the charges in the other two cases — the disorderly conduct and the resisting a peace officer — will remain.

She expects that Sammak will fail to appear back in Urbana and warrants will be issued for his arrest that will prevent him from returning to the United States.

Rietz said it was her understanding that Sammak had been expelled from the UI even before the more recent criminal charges were filed.