The Judges’ Club said Monday it welcomes any new minister of justice appointed by the cabinet to replace former minister Ahmed Al-Zind, who was dismissed Sunday.
“We won’t interfere in the executive power’s work, and the government didn’t ask us to provide candidates,” head of the Judges’ Club Abdullah Fathi told Daily News Egypt Monday.
The club, previously headed by Al-Zind, strongly condemned Al-Zind’s dismissal. Some judges threatened to “abandon” the ministry while speaking Sunday to local media following the cabinet’s decision.
The government appointed Minister of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Magdy Al-Agati as chargé d’affairs of the minister of justice until a new minister is appointed, cabinet spokesman Hossam El-Kawish told Daily News Egypt on Monday.
Meanwhile, media speculations over Al-Zind’s successor suggested six potential candidates, including deputy head of the Court of Appeals Adel El Shorbagy, deputy justice ministers Ezzat Khamis and Reda Shawkat, member of the Supreme Constitutional Court Hassan Badrawy and head of the Court of Cassation Hossam Abdul Rahim.
Al-Zind’s televised comments about ‘jailing the prophet’ stirred a furore and demands for his resignation, which led to his removal. Al-Zind’s dismissal raised more debate regarding other discriminatory remarks he made prior to his statement about the prophet.
Many social media users argued that the ex-minister had previously made a series of discriminatory public statements that deserved his dismissal.
The performance of the ministry has been questioned by local rights’ groups, namely the increasing criticism of the judiciary following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Prolonged trials, violations of defendants’ rights, harsh sentences, and mass death sentences issued against Muslim Brotherhood supporters – against whom Al-Zind publicly incited to murder which prompted the Human Rights Watch to condemn him for hate speech – are all actions that have called the ministry’s oversight into question in recent months.
MP Haitham El-Hariri commented on Al-Zind’s dismissal, saying the ex-minister’s comment tops a series of statements in which Al-Zind displayed “power and arrogance”, adding that “the minister had no intention to refrain from such offensive comments”.
“My opinion is that Al-Zind’s ministerial file was filled with violations. His comments on the prophet are less severe than other statements he made that disrespect humanity, not just religion,” El-Hariri told Daily News Egypt Monday, referring to the statement on executing members affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood as an example.
Shehab Waguih, an official spokesperson for the Free Egyptians Party, said Monday that the real problem is the way “we deal with ministries according to the personalities of ministers”, rather than as institutions.
“That is why I believe that, regardless of the personality of the new minister of justice, the programme he will present to the parliament will be the judgment tool of his performance,” said Waguih.