Egypt justice chief quits after 'garbage collector' comment

May 12, 2015 08:12
Mahfouz Saber says his comments were a "slip of the tongue". Still, the public backlash forced him to quit his job. Photo: Press TV

Egypt's justice minister has resigned after being criticized for suggesting that the son of a garbage collector would be unworthy to serve as a judge.

Mahfouz Saber, who was appointed last June, said in a televised interview that a judge "should have been brought up in a respectable financial and moral environment", while the son of a garbage collector would find "a suitable job".

Later, he said his remarks had been a "slip of the tongue", Reuters reported Tuesday. Saber's replacement has yet to be named.

Social inequality was one of the core grievances of the 2011 uprising that toppled veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak and ultimately brought former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to the presidency.

Sisi, who promised widespread reform and accountability after removing the Muslim Brotherhood from power in 2013 following mass protests, remains popular but signs of discontent are slowly emerging.

Critics on social media condemned Saber's views as snobbish, racist and unconstitutional.

"Yet another proof that justice in Egypt is just a farce," a Cairo blogger tweeted.

Egypt's judiciary has come under scrutiny in the past year over a series of cases including the sentencing to death of hundreds of alleged Muslim Brotherhood supporters and the trial of three Al Jazeera journalists.

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