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New Egypt justice minister sworn in after judges gaffe

Ahmad Al Zind to become the new justice minister (File photo: Al Arabiya)

Egypt swore in a new justice minister known for his anti-Islamist views on Tuesday, nine days after his predecessor resigned over controversial comments about cleaners' sons being unsuitable as judges.

"Ahmed al-Zind was sworn in in front of the president and in the presence of the prime minister," a statement from President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's office said.

Zind takes over from Mahfouz Saber, whose resignation was announced on May 11 after he said that becoming a judge was too lofty an ambition for the sons of cleaners.

Zind, who headed the country's judges' association, has never concealed his animosity towards extremist Islam.

He fervently opposed Mohamed Morsi, the one-year president who rose from the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood and was ousted in 2013 by then army chief Sisi.

Saber's remarks that led to his resignation came in a television interview.

Judges are "lofty and have status", and must come from "a respectable milieu", Saber said. If a son of a cleaner were to work as a judge, "he would get depressed and won't continue".

After an outcry on social media, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said two days later on May 11 that he had accepted Saber's resignation.

Since Sisi toppled Morsi, international human rights advocates have accused the authorities of using the judiciary in their bloody crackdown on the Islamist's supporters.

The judiciary has handed down harsh verdicts against members of the political opposition, with hundreds of Islamists sentenced to death over violent protests.

On Saturday, Morsi himself was sentenced to death along with 100 others for their role in a mass jailbreak during the 2011 uprising that ended the rule of his own predecessor, Hosni Mubarak.
 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2015 KSA 13:46 - GMT 10:46
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New Egypt justice minister sworn in after judges gaffe
Zind takes over from Mahfouz Saber, whose resignation was announced on May 11
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