Egypt Judges' Club head Zend sworn in as new justice minister

Wednesday 20-05-2015 11:02 AM
Egypt Judges' Club head Zend sworn in as new justice minister

Judge Ahmed el-Zend, President of the Egyptian Judges Club.


CAIRO, May 20 (Aswat Masriya) - The head of Egypt's Judges' Club Ahmed el-Zend was sworn in as new minister of justice early Wednesday, a statement from the presidency said.

Egypt's Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb said he accepted the resignation of the justice minister last week.

Minister Mahfouz Saber's resignation comes after recent controversial statements he made during a television show, on private network TEN TV.

In response to a question by the show host on whether the children of garbage collectors can become judges, the minister 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 right 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 justice and refuse their appointment within the judiciary as "haters".

"The sons of judges will continue to be appointed annually," the state-run al-Ahram quoted Zend as saying. "No power in Egypt will stop this holy crawl toward its judiciary."

During his term as head of the Judges' Club, an unofficial union of Egypt's judges, 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.

The parliament under Mursi's regime was trying to amend the law governing the judiciary in 2013 in a manner which would lower the judges' retirement age from 70 to 60.

If enforced, the amendment would have resulted in the early retirement of around 3500 judges. The Brotherhood advocated for the amendment, saying it would achieve a needed restructuring of Egypt's judiciary.

Zend was one of the most vocal opponents of the amendments. The Judges' Club filed an official complaint against the amendments with the International Association of Judges in 2013.

The amendments were scraped off following Mursi's military ouster in 2013, prompted by mass protests against his rule, and the dissolution of parliament.

Mursi was preliminarily sentenced to death on Saturday alongside 105 others accused of escaping from prison during the 2011 uprising.

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