A member of the Egyptian security forces stands guard outside the constitutional court in Cairo
A member of the Egyptian security forces stands guard outside the constitutional court in Cairo © Mohamed el-Shahed - AFP/File
A member of the Egyptian security forces stands guard outside the constitutional court in Cairo
AFP
Last updated: May 11, 2015

Calls for Egypt minister's sacking over 'lofty judges'

Egypt's justice minister is facing calls for his sacking after he said the sons of cleaners could not become judges, insisting that the judiciary was too "lofty" for such people.

Judges are "lofty and have status", and must come from "a respectable milieu", Justice Minister Mahfouz Saber said in a television interview on Sunday.

If a son of a cleaner were to work as a judge, "he would get depressed and won't continue", Saber said.

Critics have now taken to Twitter to call for him to be fired.

"The son of a cleaner can't work in the judiciary. But he can die in Sinai defending you," wrote one user, referring to a military campaign against an Islamist insurgency in the peninsula.

Mohamed ElBaradei, a former vice president, pointed out that international rights charters guarantee freedom of choice of employment.

"When the sense of justice abandons a country, nothing is left," he tweeted.

ElBaradei briefly served as vice president after the army overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, resigning in protest over the ensuing deadly crackdown on Morsi's supporters.

The judiciary has come under increasing criticism for its harsh verdicts against members of the political opposition, with hundreds of Islamists sentenced to death over violent protests.

Saber's classist remarks were not the first from the judiciary to cause controversy in a country where government figures show at least 26 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

Last year, 138 prosecution service applicants were turned down because their fathers had not obtained university degrees.

The Egyptian constitution prohibits discrimination based on class or gender.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Stay Connected
twitter icon Twitter 13,558 linkedin icon LinkedIn 463
facebook icon Facebook 87,173 google+ icon Google+ 272