Egypt's justice minister quits after bin-man remarks

Egypt's justice minister quits after bin-man remarks
2 min read
11 May, 2015
Blog: Mahfouz Saber resigns days after saying judiciary should be drawn from "appropriate and respectable" segments of society when asked if a bin-man's child could become a judge.
Saber said his remarks were a slip of the tongue [Moment Editorial]
Egypt's justice minister has resigned after a backlash against his comments that the children of bin-men should never become judges and that top judicial places should be held by people of "suitable social class".

Mahfouz Saber resigned on Tuesday, a day after making the remarks on the popular TV talk show, al-Beit Beitak.

In his resignation, Saber said he had the utmost respect for working men and that his comments were a slip of the tongue.

Saber initially refused to resign but the prime minister, Ibrahim Mahlab, called a TV talk show last night to say Saber had gone.

Saber had on Monday said top legal positions should only be filled with people from "appropriate and respectable" segments of society
When questioned about whether the children of bin-men could be appointed to positions in the ministry of justice, he responded that a judge "should come from the appropriate environment for the job".

"With all due respect to cleaners, or anyone beneath or above them, the social class in which judges grow up must be suitable [for the position]," Saber added.

He did have some praise for bin-men that gave their children an education but he said, from previous experience, those from the lower orders would suffer from "psychological distress" and not stay in the job.

Egyptian social media users slammed Saber. Twitter users used the #Sack_The_Minister_Justice hashtag to show their displeasure.

The Nobel Peace laureate and former vice president, Mohammed ElBaradei, posted on Twitter a segment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his or her country. When the concept of justice does not exist in a nation, nothing is left."

Leading Egyptian human rights activist and lawyer Gamal Eid said: "There is evidence and judicial decree that Mubarak and his sons are thieves. There's no evidence the son of cleaner is a thief he could be a fair judge and honourable president. The regime is classist and unjust."

Journalist Mohammad Maree said: "Gamal Abdel Nasser's father was a farmer and Sisi's father was a furniture dealer. Along comes the minister of justice saying the children of cleaners can't be judges!#Sack_The_Minister_Justice."   

The editor-in-chief of al-Mal newspaper, Hazem Sherif, said: "Hiring the son of a judge with poor test scores and excluding the son of a bin-man who scored higher is not only a constitutional violation, but it also deprives us from our right to an efficient and impartial judiciary."