Prime Minister orders Justice Minister to give up his position  

Sunday 13-03-2016 08:46 PM

(Archive) Judge Ahmed al-Zend, former head of the judge's club. Reuters photo

CAIRO, Mar 13 (Aswat Masriya) – Prime Minister Sherif Ismail ordered Justice Minister Ahmed al-Zend to give up his position on Sunday.

The decision comes on the heels of Zend's comments on Friday on television show, "Nazra", aired on Sada al-Balad private channel.

Zend said he would jail a lawbreaker regardless of who he or she is, even if it is "the prophet", referring to Prophet Muhammad. 

Although Zend apologised for the controversial comment a day later on the same television channel on the show, "Ala Masoulity" hosted by Ahmed Moussa, his apology came to no avail.

A hashtag circulated on Twitter called for trying Zend over his statement, which many Egyptian social media users found offensive.

Egypt's foremost religious institution Al-Azhar released a statement on Sunday calling on those who engage in public conversations in media outlets to avoid inflicting harm on "prophethood".

The Judge's Club which was formerly headed by Zend announced on Sunday evening that it backs keeping Zend in office and said in a statement that his comments were "spontaneous". 

Zend was appointed as Justice Minister in May 2015 after his predecessor Mahfouz Saber submitted his resignation over comments on private network TEN TV.

Asked whether the children of garbage collectors can become judges, Mahfouz said, judges should grow up in and come "from an appropriate" circle, "with all due respect to garbage collectors..."

Zend is known for strongly advocating the controversial notion to appoint the sons of judges within the judiciary.

In a meeting with the judges of Menoufia in March 2012, Zend was quoted describing those who attack the sons of judges and refuse their appointment within the judiciary as “haters”.

During his term a head of the Judge's Club, Zend came off as a strong opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood. His most memorable confrontations with the now-banned group were mostly during the tenure of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

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