Justice Minister Mahmoud Saber has declined to retract the controversial remarks he made in which he suggested social status is vital when it comes to appointment in the judiciary.
The minister provoked harsh criticism from activists and social networks users when he stated in a TV interview on Sunday that sons of garbage collectors are not eligible to work in the judiciary given their social status does not fit judicial “prestige”.
Speaking to the independent Dotmasr news website, the minister seemed unfazed by the attacks or calls for his removal.
“I am convinced of what I said, I did not offend anyone,” Saber stated. “I was reflecting reality, not making it up; that’s how things go in the army and the police service, too,” the website quoted the minister as saying.
He, however, pointed that his remarks expressed a “personal viewpoint”, explaining that he does not have authority over judicial appointments.
The minister spoke on the satellite TV channel Ten on Sunday, explaining that sons of low social class people would not be suitable in the judiciary.
“The son of a garbage collector cannot work as a judge, nor in the judicial field. He has to be brought up in a social environment that fits that job,” Saber said in his interview. The statements highlight the country’s longtime suffering from nepotism in many government appointments.
Explaining his viewpoint, Saber said that if a dustman’s son is appointed in the judiciary, he would “endure several troubles and depression, and might not be able to continue to work.”
He added that such an applicant “can find another job that suits him, the judiciary enjoys a different prestige.”
Saber’s statements backfired, with Twitter users launching the hashtag “remove the justice minister”.
One user, @MiDoShaKEr77, tweeted a screenshot of Article 53 of the 2014 Constitution, which stipulates that citizens should not be discriminated against based on their religion or “social level”. “Here is the constitution of your country which you are violating Mr Minister,” he wrote.