Egypt's Minister of Justice Ahmed El-Zend said in a TV interview on Wednesday that he believed that for every fallen "martyr" from the Egyptian police and Armed Forces, 10,000 Muslim Brotherhood members and their supporters should be killed.
"I believe that if 40,000 terrorists were killed it would not be enough for the martyrs. I swear to God that the fire burning in my heart will not die except when for every martyr, 10,000 Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters are killed," El-Zend said while giving condolence on the Sada El-Balad TV channel for personnel killed in the war on terrorism.
The minister vowed that all the death sentences issued against members of the Brotherhood, including former president Mohamed Morsi, would be carried out after all appeals are exhausted.
El-Zend’s comments immediately created controversy on social media across the country, with the hashtag “#El-Zend” trending for many hours in Egypt.
Although he did not mention the justice minister by name, former vice president Mohamed ElBaradei posted a tweet which many believe was meant as a criticism of El-Zend's vow.
"There are constants for any society: Freedom and human dignity, knowledge and value are the core of any future. The social consensus is a necessity to build any nation, as well justice, and not revenge," the Nobel laureate said.
Last November, in an interview with the BBC, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi ssid that it was unlikely that mass death sentences handed down to hundreds of Islamists following the ouster of Morsi would be carried out, arguing that those verdicts were preliminary and can be appealed.
The Muslim Brotherhood was officially designated a terrorist organisation in Egypt in November 2013.
El-Zend became minister of justice in 2015, after serving for years as the head of the powerful Judges Club.
He was among the most outspoken opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood during their short one year in power 2012-2013.