Egypt appoints Muslim Brotherhood critic Ahmed el-Zend as new justice minister

Pro-Islamist demonstrators hold Egyptian flags and posters of former President Mohamed Mursi during a protest in support of him at the courtyard of Fatih mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, May 17, 2015. Egypt appointed judge Ahmed el-Zend, a fierce cri
Pro-Islamist demonstrators hold Egyptian flags and posters of former President Mohamed Mursi during a protest in support of him at the courtyard of Fatih mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, May 17, 2015. Egypt appointed judge Ahmed el-Zend, a fierce critic of the Muslim Brotherhood, as justice minister on Wednesday, May 20, the president's office said in a statement, angering opposition politicians. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

CAIRO (REUTERS) - Egypt appointed judge Ahmed el-Zend, a fierce critic of the Muslim Brotherhood, as justice minister on Wednesday, the president's office said in a statement, angering opposition politicians.

Zend, head of a group that represents judges across the country, has regularly condemned the now outlawed Brotherhood, the Islamist movement removed from power in mid-2013.

In a speech from last year posted on YouTube, he also condemned the 2011 uprising that ousted veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak for letting the Brotherhood reach power a year later.

While the courts have been gradually absolving Mubarak-era officials, they have been handing down lengthy sentences to liberal and Islamist activists on charges ranging from protesting to committing acts of violence.

Some online commentators tweeted "No to Zend as justice minister" and shared videos of his past statements.

Former justice minister Mahfouz Saber resigned on Monday after he was branded snobbish for saying that the son of a garbage collector would be unworthy to serve as a judge.