‘Dragged by his feet’: Blind African student violently removed from Oxford debate
Prestigious British debating society Oxford Union has drawn flak after a 25-year-old blind African student was “dragged by his feet” from a chamber by one of the society’s security officials.
Ghanaian Ebenezer Azamati, 25, was “forcibly and violently” removed from his seat in the Oxford Union Chamber in Oxford, United Kingdom on Oct. 17, as per a statement released on Nov. 13 by the Oxford University Africa Society (AfriSoc).
“The Oxford University Africa Society (AfriSoc) strongly condemns the violent, unjust, inhumane, and shameful treatment of our member, Mr. Ebenezer Azamati,” the statement read. “No individual deserves to be treated in that manner.”
STATEMENT IN CONDEMNATION OF THE OXFORD UNION’S(The Oxford Union)IRRESPONSIBLE AND VIOLENT TREATMENT OF EBENEZER AZAMATI…
“Our understanding is that Mr. Azamati, who is visually impaired, was forcibly and violently prevented from re-entering the Union to resume his seat, and subsequently, forced to leave the debate Chamber after simply exiting and re-entering when the program had not even begun,” AfriSoc said.
“Even if he had re-entered when the debate had started, such poor treatment through violent means remains unjustifiable,” the group added.
Azamati is a postgraduate from Ghana studying international relations, as per statement.
A video of a clearly distressed Azamati being removed from his seat was posted by AfriSoc on Facebook last Friday, Nov. 15. The video was cut, however, before Azamati was reportedly “dragged off the bench by his feet,” as per Oxford University student paper The Oxford Student.
An injury to one is an injury to all. We stand with Azamati to protest the unjust and gross misconduct of the Oxford Union.We will not be silent. We will not turn a blind eye. We will be seen. We will be heard. #oxfordunionexclusion #unfairOxfordUnionThe GuardianBBC News AfricaBBC OxfordBBC News BBC World Service Sky News BBC Radio 1
Posted by Oxford University Africa Society on Thursday, November 14, 2019
Azamati was initially charged with violent misconduct by Oxford Union’s president Brendan McGrath, but the latter has since withdrawn the charge after AfriSoc released its statement.
McGrath apologized on behalf of the union “unreservedly for the distress and any reputational damage which the publication of the charge may have caused him,” as per AfriSoc’s statement released on Facebook last Sunday, Nov. 17.
UPDATE ON EBENEZER AZAMATI CASEThe Oxford University Africa Society is pleased to announce that following the appeal…
Azamati’s ban from the Union is yet to be lifted and his Oxford Union membership has not yet been reinstated, as of writing. Ian Biong/JB
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.