Egypt’s justice minister resigns after demeaning lower class
The Egyptian justice minister has been forced to resign after stirring controversy following his televised defamatory remarks humiliating the country’s lower class people.
Mahfouz Saber submitted his resignation on Monday after stating in a television interview that becoming a judge was too lofty an ambition for the sons of sanitation workers, the Egyptian prime minister announced.
Ibrahim Mahlab said he accepted Saber’s resignation two days after he made the derogatory comments in the televised interview.
Boasting that judges are “lofty and have status” and must come from “a respectable milieu,” Saber further added that if a son of a garbage worker was to become a judge, “he would get depressed and won’t continue.”
The justice minister chose to resign “out of respect for public opinion” and regretted the way he had expressed himself, said Mahlab, who spoke while on a visit to the French capital of Paris.
“The government respects all sectors of society, especially the laborers and artisans who contribute to building the future of the country,” the premier was quoted as saying by state news agency MENA.
The resignation came after a leading Egyptian human rights organization filed a complaint accusing Saber of promoting racism and defaming the Egyptian people.
Saber was further accused of violating the principles of the Egyptian constitution and the basics of international law that regards all people as equal.
According to press reports, 138 prosecution service applicants were turned down last year in Egypt because their fathers did not hold university degrees.
Meanwhile, the remarks by the Egyptian justice minister were reportedly not the first from the country’s judiciary to cause controversy in a nation where over 30 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, according to official figures.
Officially, the Egyptian constitution prohibits discrimination based on class or gender.