“The Son of a Garbage Collector Cannot Become a Judge”: Egypt’s Justice Minister

“The Son of a Garbage Collector Cannot Become a Judge”: Egypt’s Justice Minister

Minister of Justice Mahfouz Saber/YOUM7
Minister of Justice Mahfouz Saber/YOUM7

Egypt’s Minister of Justice Mahfouz Saber has stirred controversy across Egypt after declaring that children of garbage collectors cannot become judges as they must grow up in a “respectable” environment.

During a live television interview, the Minister of Justice answered a question regarding the Justice Ministry’s employment criteria.

“With all due respect to the garbage collector, and anyone else beneath him or above him, it is necessary for the environmental medium where a judge grows to be suitable,”said the Justice Minister.

“A judge has his highness and position, he must come from a respectable medium, both financially and morally.”

The Minister added that if a garbage collector would be hired as a judge, he would suffer from depression and other issues. The Minister, who said this statement is based on prior experience, did not clarify what ‘issues’  he was referring to.

Asked whether this means the garbage collector and his children are deprived of employment, the Minister said the they would find a job that is suited to them.

Following the statements, Egyptians have taken to social media to call for the resignation of the Justice Minister. On Twitter, the top trending hashtag in Egypt calls for the Minister to be replaced.

Meanwhile, following the statements, Egypt’s former vice President Mohammed El-Baradei criticized what he called was a lack of the “concept of justice.”

  “When the concept of justice is absent from a nation, nothing remains,” said El-Baradei, who has been living abroad since he resigned in 2013 over the bloody dispersal of pro-Morsi sit-ins in August 2013.   El-Baradei added that the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights preserves “the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.”   In solidarity with garbage collectors, social media users have posted their support and praise of garbage collectors’ crucial role in society.

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  • Adam

    all he did was state the obvious. and i think he did the right thing. its easy for all of us to not realize how people get to where they’re at and in egypt its through money, power, and reputation. the fact that he came out and said this would open the eyes of many egyptians and make everyone realize that he’s right and changes need to be made. anyone who claims this man is stupid or ignorant is in denial or just plain stupid, because what he’s saying has been in front of us for over 100 years


    Its true though

  • yossarian68

    Appalling statement. But, coming from the UK, I can but ask how many of our judges are the sons or daughters of garbage collectors and I suspect not many if at all.

  • M Sorour

    Although the statement of justice minister is racist, humiliating and totally unacceptable but it is unfortunately is the way of military regime to rule Egypt since they occupied it from 1952.
    Inheritance is present in all sectorder in Egypt and justice ministry is not an exception.
    Note: any of these who had loudly disagree with justice minister and express that on Twitter and Facebook if the garbage collector’s son came to ask to marrying his daughter he will refused for the same reasons which declared in the statement of this racist minister (DUPLICITY)

  • Commander_Chico

    From what I’ve seen of judges and zabaleen in Egypt, the zabaleen are more honest, noble and decent.

    • maliurj

      I share the same sentiment.

  • One son of a bitch … Like most of the judges.


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