Blind African student who was dragged out of Oxford Union by the ankles wins pay out


Blind African student who was dragged out of Oxford Union debating chamber ‘by his ankles’ wins pay out of ‘several thousands of pounds’

  •  Video footage of Ebenezer Azamati being ‘manhandled’ at the union went viral
  •  It was claimed the Ghanaian student was behaving ‘aggressively’ and ejected
  •  A year later, the union apologises and has withdrawn all allegations against him

A blind student who was ‘dragged out’ of the Oxford Union has been paid several thousands of pounds in compensation.

Ebenezer Azamati was ‘pushed’ out of the exclusive debating chamber by security on October 17.

Footage of him being ‘manhandled’ went viral after the ex-president, Brandan McGrath – who wasn’t there that evening – claimed Mr Azamati was behaving aggressively and banned him for two terms.

In a statement tweeted by the union, which is independent from the university, the president apologised days later for the ‘distress’ and ‘reputational damage’.

But now, nearly a year later, the union have made another public statement saying: ‘Ebenezer Azamati, a member of the Oxford Union, sought to attend one of its debates. Mr Azamati is blind and Black. Mr Azamati was initially turned away.

‘He was subsequently admitted but then steps were taken to remove him by force. 

‘He eventually left voluntarily. Shortly afterwards, disciplinary proceedings were wrongly brought against Mr Azamati alleging violence and dishonesty.

Ebenezer Azamati (pictured above) had tried to reserve a seat at the debate as he was worried there were no provision in place for disabled students

Ebenezer Azamati,was 'manhandled' by security guards while attending a debate at the Oxford Union

Ebenezer Azamati,was ‘manhandled’ by security guards while attending a debate at the Oxford Union 

‘The allegations and initial findings against him were made public. All the allegations against him were withdrawn on appeal, the findings were set aside and he was rightly cleared of any wrongdoing.’  

Ebenezer Azamati was expelled from a debate at the Oxford Union after he attempted to attend a talk on the motion ‘This House has no confidence in HM Government’.

The 25-year-old arrived early at the Oxford Union on October 17 to reserve a seat as he was worried there were no special provisions for disabled students.

He placed a book on an accessible seat near the entrance to the chamber to reserve it and went back to his college for dinner.  

When he returned later, accompanied by a friend and sat down, officials refused his attendance and were seen manhandling him out of his seat.

Mr Azamati, who is a postgraduate from Ghana studying international relations, became distressed at the situation.

Video footage from the event shows the student’s white cane to be visible, while an official pulls him out of his seat.

Official putting his hand on Mr Azamati

Mr Azamati being removed from the debate

Officials were seen talking to Mr Azamati and touching his arm (left) before they removed him from the debating chamber

Mr Azamati has since said he feels ‘unwelcome’ in Britain following the incident.

He said at the time: ‘In being publicly removed from the Oxford Union Society made me feel unwelcome in the Union, Oxford and even the country. 

‘I felt that I was treated as not being human enough to deserve justice and fair treatment.’    

Today the statement continued: ‘We accept that the allegations of dishonesty and violence made against Mr Azamati by the union have caused acute distress to [him] and serious harm to his reputation.

‘We accept that those allegations are wholly unfounded and untrue, and we apologise for making the statements that contained them.’

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