Head of the Judges Club Ahmed al-Zend was sworn in today as justice minister, following the resignation of his predecessor Mahfouz Saber last week.
Saber resigned amid a backlash related to classist comments he made during a media appearance, when he asserted that the sons of workers could not enter the judiciary.
The Minister of Transitional Justice Ibrahim al-Heneidy took charge of the Justice Ministry in the interim period.
Zend himself is no stranger to controversial statements, and has often made headlines for political commentary deemed unbecoming of a judicial figure.
He was head of the Judges Club since 2009 and led the battle against Muslim Brotherhood influence in the judiciary since Mohamed Morsi’s ouster in 2013.
He was a staunch opponent of Morsi’s proposed amendments to the judicial powers law, which weren’t passed, but would have reduced the retirement age of judges, forcing thousands into early retirement.
The appointment comes amid a severe judicial crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood figures. Last Saturday, former President Mohamed Morsi and over 100 others were sentenced to death on charges of espionage and prison break. A few hours later, three judges were killed in a targeted attack while on route to a courthouse in Arish, North Sinai.
Zend has repeatedly expressed his belief in the superiority of the judiciary, stating that judges are the masters of the people, and asserting that the appointment of judges is sacred. He has also openly expressed his support of the police, suggesting enforcing a LE100 tax to support their work.