UK Government Apologizes, Pays Damages to Accused Academic in Hamas Sympathy Controversy: A Lesson in Due Process and Accountability

Minister apologizes for accusing professor of Hamas sympathies

The controversy surrounding the British government’s handling of academics accused of sympathizing with Hamas has been resolved. Science Secretary Michelle Donelan issued an apology and made a payment in damages to academic Kate Sang, who was falsely accused by Donelan of supporting the terrorist group. The undisclosed sum paid by Donelan came from public funds, transferring the burden of the minister’s error to taxpayers.

The incident began when Sang shared an article expressing her concerns about the government’s response to pro-Palestinian demonstrations. Donelan took issue with the post and demanded that Sang, along with another academic named Kamna Patel, be removed from their roles at U.K. Research and Innovation (UKRI), where Sang served on the equality, diversity, and inclusion advisory group. However, following an investigation by UKRI, it was determined that neither Sang nor Patel had expressed extremist views or supported Hamas.

Sang, who had initiated legal action for defamation against Donelan and UKRI, expressed relief that the issue had been resolved but also criticized the organization for its handling of the situation. She also mentioned her intention to donate part of the financial settlement to charity as a way to give back amidst these circumstances. This incident highlights the importance of due process in handling accusations against individuals in positions of power and authority within government organizations.

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