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BBC News

Egypt’s Justice Minister Ahmed al-Zind has been sacked after boasting that he would jail Islam’s Prophet Muhammad himself if the prophet broke the law.

Mr Zind made the remark in a televised interview on Friday. He immediately said “God forgive me” and apologised the following day.

He was sacked by the Prime Minister, Sherif Ismail.

It was not immediately clear who would replace Mr Zind, an outspoken critic of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Prime Minister Sherif Ismail issued a decree today to relieve Ahmed al-Zind … of his position,” a government statement said, giving no more details.

Egyptian judges issued a statement opposing Mr Zind’s removal over what the head of the Judges Club told Reuters was a slip of the tongue that could have happened to anyone.

Abdallah Fath said: “Egypt’s judges are sorry that someone who defended Egypt and its people, judiciary and nation … should be punished in this way.”

Mr Zind, a former appeals court judge, has been publicly critical of the Islamist movement which overthrew former leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and was removed from power itself by the army in mid-2013 and outlawed.

He has in the past denounced the revolt that ended Mubarak’s 30-year rule and ushered in the election that brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power.

He has also been a strong defender of the judiciary and its powerful position.

Egyptian courts have been absolving Mubarak-era officials, while imposing long sentences on liberal and Islamist activists.

Egypt’s judiciary has faced criticism from rights groups in the past two years after judges issued mass death sentences against Muslim Brotherhood supporters, locking up youth activists and sentencing writers and journalists.

Mr Zind’s predecessor was forced to resign last May after saying the son of a rubbish collector was ineligible to serve as a judge.


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