Difret (2014) Movie Script

- Good morning, Emnet.
- Good morning.
Good morning, Mrs...
Come into my office.
What can I do for you,
Mrs. Belaynesh?
I heard that you...
It's ok.
He has always
been an angry man,
but he didn't drink
so much before.
Now all he does is drink.
When he comes home,
he'll find any reason to hit me.
I went to some family members.
They said, "He hits you
because he loves you.
"Your husband is a kind man.
Go back to your house. "
Why don't you give me your address
and phone number? I'll talk to him.
We don't have a phone.
Where do you live?
His name is Zenebe.
He works at a construction site
next to St Gabriel church.
If he finds out I came
to talk to you,
- he will kill me...
- Don't worry, Mrs. Belaynesh.
There are laws in this country.
No one is above the law.
You've missed one question.
It asks for the distance,
not the time.
If Abebe takes 60 minutes
to run 12 kilometers,
and 20 minutes to
run four kilometers,
how far would he run
in 120 minutes?
The correct answer
is 24 kilometers.
The rest is good.
I'm putting in a recommendation
to promote you to fifth grade.
Please let me go!
Please let me go!
Let me out!
Excuse me, I'm looking...
for Mr. Zenebe, please.
I'm Zenebe.
You are Mr. Zenebe?
Mrs. Belaynesh's husband?
- How do you know my wife?
- Mr. Zenebe, is that your girlfriend?
I'm here to let you know,
that if you ever touch your wife
again, I'll have you arrested.
Listen, you little shit,
I'm old enough to be your father.
And man, enough to
beat your wife, right?
You want to keep your job,
be nice to your wife.
Take this.
It's coffee.
Don't worry.
You will soon be my wife.
What is it?
It's nothing. I thought I saw
people coming this way.
Have some coffee.
The girl is strong.
She almost tipped
me off the horse.
But she's good-looking.
- That's true.
- Good genes.
She got away!
There she is.
Get her.
Don't come any closer!
Don't come any closer.
I'm not going to tell you again.
Get her.
- Cut her throat!
- No, let me go! Mama!
Stop. Get off the girl.
Get off!
She just killed a man.
She should be killed.
You know the rules.
We are civilian police,
chosen by the people of this village.
We're taking the
girl to the police.
- You wanted to see me?
- Yes.
They are holding a young girl
at a police station in the village.
They say she killed her abductor.
They are going to kill the poor girl.
Did you call our regional office there?
No, I just heard
this on the radio.
Hello, Etaferaw, it's Meaza.
Did you hear anything about a young girl
who's being held at the police station?
Can you go there and find out about it,
please? Thank you.
- Are you all together?
- No, we're not.
We are here for Hirut.
- Do you have food?
- Yes.
- Yes, we do.
- Bring it here.
Open it.
- Open it.
- Ok.
- Eat it.
- Sorry, but we brought it for Hirut.
I understand.
You have to eat it so I know
you didn't put poison in there.
It's policy.
In the name of God, poison?
Hold this.
Follow me.
You wait here.
How are you?
Here is the girl's file.
Her name is Hirut Assefa.
She's 14.
What do you mean, she's 14?
She's 14 years old?
And she killed a man?
That's what the
police report says.
She's being held without bail
and with limited visitation.
- We are here to see Hirut.
- What are you to her?
We are her lawyers.
She doesn't need lawyers.
She knows what she did.
She killed a man and she's
going to pay for it with her life.
That's not for you to decide.
Take her to the little girl.
Don't think that you can
save this girl's life.
How are you doing, Hirut?
My name is Meaza Ashenafi,
and this is Etaferaw Teshager.
We are lawyers.
Do you know what
a lawyer is?
Why are you angry?
It's ok.
We are not the police.
All I wanted was to get
back to my parents.
It's going to be ok.
I'll take you to a hospital.
I'm coming back to get you.
I'm here to represent
Hirut Assefa.
She needs medical attention.
And, on behalf of Andinet
Women Lawyers Association,
I would like to post bail
and take her to hospital.
You know I can't do what
you're asking me to do.
She is in for murder.
Besides, you are not authorized
to represent her in this region.
She is 14 years old, sir,
and she has a broken arm.
She might have other injuries
that we don't know about.
And we do have a representative
in this region.
The Assistant DA thinks that
she's lying about her age.
He thinks she is much
older than that.
Besides, I just can't let
you take her without
her parents' permission,
since she's 14.
Come in.
Sir, we are all ready.
I'm sorry.
Good afternoon.
- Are you Hirut's mother?
- Yes, I am.
I don't think I remember
who you are.
You wouldn't know me, ma'am.
We came to talk to you about Hirut,
if that's ok.
Well, don't stand in the sun.
Come inside.
Aregash, light the lantern.
Please don't bother.
We are comfortable.
It's been hard since
they took Hirut.
I don't have anyone to talk to.
I don't know where to go.
We help women
and girls like Hirut,
who are in legal trouble and don't get
proper professional representation.
But we don't have
anything to pay you.
We are poor farmers,
as you can see.
Money is not necessary.
Our service is free.
It's her father's fault.
He insisted that she
should go to school.
All of this wouldn't have happened
if she had stayed at home
and helped her parents,
like I did when I was a little girl.
I think you are mistaken.
Your husband did
the right thing.
What I need is your permission
to represent Hirut legally.
It's ok by me.
But it's her father who makes decisions
around here. You have to talk to him.
- Where is your husband?
- He's out in the field, farming.
Excuse me, I've got to get
more wood from the back.
Hirut is never coming home, is she?
Meseret never came back.
- Who is Meseret?
- She's my sister.
She's been gone a long time.
- Aregash.
- Yes.
They are lawyers.
They came to help us.
Help us with what?
My name is Meaza.
This is Etaferaw.
If you want your
daughter back...
I strongly suggest that
you sign this paper.
Is this going to start a war
with his family?
Ato Assefa,
your daughter is hurt.
She has been raped.
For all I know,
she might get pregnant.
So, what do you want
me to do now?
All you have to do
is sign this paper.
I don't know how
to read or write.
Let me help you.
This paper shows that you
gave us your permission
to represent your daughter
in a court of law.
Give me your finger.
I just want to ask you
one more question.
How old is Hirut?
She is a kid.
Her little sister was born
on the day of St Mary in the
year that I lost my mother.
And my mother's ten-year anniversary
was two years ago.
That makes her 12.
So Hirut is 14.
She's 14.
I need to be sure that she's 14.
Because the police
think that she's older.
You can ask the church.
All my daughters are baptized.
Thank you very much for everything.
We should be going.
You can't leave without
eating lunch. That's rude.
I'm sorry.
I wasn't trying to be rude.
We just have to get back
to the police station.
That is not acceptable. You must not
forget your culture. This is our tradition.
Come now,
come into the house.
The father's signature,
the regional work permit,
and a baptism record
from a church
showing when Hirut and
her sisters were baptized.
According to that record,
she is 14.
If it's ok, we'd like to take
Hirut to the hospital now.
It's not going to
be that easy.
I'm the Assistant DA
for the region.
Meaza Ashenafi, Andinet.
- What is your name?
- Gizaw.
This is Etaferaw Teshager,
The police report shows
that she shot him
with his own rifle a day
after her abduction.
Does the police report also show
that she was raped,
beaten up badly and might
have a broken arm?
Are you telling me that
she's 14 years old?
But what I don't understand is,
where did she learn to use a
semi-automatic machine gun?
And how did she run with a gun that
probably weighs as much as she does?
I don't know, but nearly
every farmer owns one,
so, it couldn't have been
completely foreign.
And every girl carries
a much heavier burden,
than a rifle around here.
Do you have children,
Ato Gizaw?
Are your children baptized?
You know that baptism records
are not credible.
We need proof. Hard evidence,
like a birth certificate.
Are you kidding me?
Since when have poor farmers
been getting birth certificates?
They don't even
get vaccinations.
I'd be careful what I say,
if I were you.
It's an unfounded accusation to say
that the state is not doing its job.
You know that is
not what I'm saying.
And I won't be that easily intimidated,
if that's what you're getting at.
You have seen my documentation.
- The girl is underage.
- We don't know that yet.
What do you propose we
should do to verify that?
She will be sent to a government
hospital to determine her age.
What hospital?
You know there isn't a specialist or a
hospital that can do that in this country.
You are holding a little girl in your
jail cell who needs medical attention.
All I'm asking you is to let
me take her to hospital.
Excuse me, I must go to court.
I think we should invite Hirut's
parents tomorrow morning.
I think you're right.
Meaza, come in!
You've grown thin.
Are you eating enough?
Enough to survive.
- I'm hungry! Let's eat?
- Ok.
How is work?
I have to say, it's different
from working for you.
You didn't work for me. You worked for
the Transitional Government of Ethiopia.
I just happened
to be your boss.
I have a favor to ask.
Is there anybody that
you can talk to?
They aren't letting me take the
little girl to hospital. She's hurt.
- Let me see what I can do.
- Thank you.
So, how is your guy?
Does he call?
Yes, he does. But, he doesn't
want to move to Addis Abeba.
He'll change his mind.
You'll see. You two will be married
and live happily ever after.
Well, you didn't get married. So, you
aren't qualified to advise in that regard.
But of course.
I've been happily married to
the law for 45 years.
Hello, Alemu?
Can you come with the reporters
tomorrow morning?
To the village police station.
Do you think you
can get her out?
- How did they hear about this?
- I don't know.
Let's go inside.
Meaza, do you think Hirut is
going to be released today?
Is that it, or are we expecting
any more people?
This is Hirut's family.
Her mother and father,
her younger sister Aregash,
her older sister Meseret,
and Meseret's children.
This is Dr Tamrat. He is the region's
chief medical investigator.
He is here to help us determine
the girl's true age.
I have examined the prisoner.
And it is truly obvious that the prisoner
is well into her late teenage years.
We can see that without the help
of any scientific evidence.
The girl is well developed.
With all due respect, Dr Tamrat, it is
really insulting to call her "the prisoner".
Her name is Hirut.
It is also insulting to
Hirut and her family
that you think she's older than she is
because she has developed breasts.
Look at her younger sister.
She's only 12.
Ms. Meaza, the priso...
Hirut is 18 years of age or
in the vicinity of that age.
Yes, sir, he is.
Gizaw, it's for you.
This is Gizaw.
I understand, sir.
Very well.
Can you ask your clients to wait for you
outside, so we can talk in private?
I've been instructed to release the
prisoner to Andinet after you post bail.
From here on, all communications
will be through your office.
And Andinet is responsible
for making sure
that the prisoner appears
at all of her appointments.
Thank you.
We would like to have all communications
handled through our office here.
Meaza, how do you feel now
that Hirut is released?
Is Hirut free?
Does this mean she
didn't kill the man?
Hirut is out on bail. At the moment,
we are taking her to hospital.
She is going to be represented by
Andinet Women Lawyers Association.
Our regional office and Etaferaw
Teshager will lead the defense.
- What is she charged with?
- Hirut is charged with murder.
We have requested
the full police report,
and we will appear in court
to defend these charges.
Thank you.
I'm Alemu,
you called me last night.
You promised to talk to me.
Good morning!
Praise God.
I think everyone concerned
with this matter is here.
The reason for this
gathering is to discuss Hirut
and the man she killed.
If there are no objections, we'd like
to go forward with the hearing.
First, Tadele's father,
what do you say to this gathering?
I stand before you today
as a childless father.
I am fruitful,
thanks to the Lord.
But a fruit of my life has been
taken away from me unjustly
- by a girl that he wanted to marry.
- That's true.
My son's wish was
to get married.
Following his tradition,
he abducted her.
Only to find that the girl I thought
would be my daughter-in-law
became the cause
of my misery.
That's true.
Abducting for marriage
is our tradition.
It's not only here.
The highlanders in the north do it.
The southerners in
Hawassa do it.
Hell, I abducted my wife.
But she knew better,
she didn't go for my rifle.
I say it is her teacher's fault.
Bad parenting too, of course.
But it is these city people with
their ties and jackets and books
who are ruining our tradition.
Is this what you teach
our daughters?
To disobey men?
Not to respect our fathers?
Or do you teach them
to kill their husbands?
We teach your children to read and write,
so, they can help you better.
You must have forgotten, Alemayehu,
I was also brought up here.
I went to the city to learn,
so, one day I could help my village.
Well, look how you turned out.
You aren't even married.
Yet you're older than my son,
who's already got two children.
Now, the girl's father,
what do you say to us?
The good Lord honored me
with three girls.
They are not boys,
but they are good girls.
My oldest daughter
got abducted.
She loved running.
She ran like the wind.
Won all kinds of medals, too.
But she got abducted.
I let her go for fear
of bloodshed.
Now she lives with a drunk
and four children.
But Hirut,
she is a difficult girl.
She has always been.
She almost killed her
mother at birth.
All she wanted to do
was to go to school,
so, one day she could go to
the university in the city.
She didn't want to end
up like her sister.
When his son came and
asked me for Hirut's hand,
I told him, "She is just a girl.
She is not ready. "
But that didn't matter, his son had
decided to abduct her all along.
She did what she did
to come home to me.
It was his son's fault for
taking her against her will.
Your daughter is too good
for my son? Huh?
Please stop!
Please, this is not a duel.
We are here to resolve
a grave matter.
Isn't it?
- It is.
- It's true.
Tadele's father, what do
you want from this court?
I'm an old man.
I don't have many days
left for me out on the farm.
My son was the future
of my family.
But he is dead now.
So, as it is with our tradition,
the girl must be killed immediately
and be buried with the man she killed.
That's right.
If this court fails
to do that,
I'll take matters into
my own hands,
and swear vengeance
on her family.
That's correct.
That should be the decision.
This is very unusual.
Since the girl is in
police custody,
it makes the matter
a difficult one to judge.
Also, since the person in
question is but a little girl,
it makes the case
unusual and hard.
So, we have decided
the girl's father
will pay the sum
of 3,000 Birr,
or the equivalent in livestock,
in compensation for the bloodshed.
As for the girl, she is to be exiled
to a place far away from this village.
We hope that this judgement
will ease the burden felt
by the deceased's family.
This is not fair. She must die.
No. It's not right!
Our decision is final and
not open to negotiation.
We are done with
our work here.
You'll stay here with me
until you feel better.
Then we'll find a place
for you to stay.
Let me show you
around the house.
Here is the bathroom,
if you want to wash,
and, you know, go pee.
And this is the kitchen.
I cook my food here.
And this is a refrigerator,
I keep my food here.
You're hungry.
I'll make us something.
Go ahead and sit down.
Why don't you
have a husband?
I don't know.
My mother always
asks that question.
Are you a bad woman?
Because in the village,
when a girl is married,
if she is not a virgin, the husband
throws her out of his house.
She can't even get
back to her family.
They say she disgraced the family
and she's forced to live by herself.
- Did you disgrace your family?
- No.
I didn't disgrace my family.
You see, when I was a little girl,
I grew up in a village just like yours.
I have five brothers and
I am the only girl.
My mother made sure I was raised
equally with my brothers.
So, I went to school
with them every day.
And I knew I didn't want to
get married and have children
like everybody else
in the village, either.
Men kept asking my father
to give me to their sons.
He told them that I was a difficult child.
Not wife material.
Of course, he was lying.
So, they didn't try to abduct you
after your father refused?
I guess I was lucky that
I had a lot of brothers.
No one dared to bother me because
my brothers were always there.
And after high school, I moved to the city
and I was accepted into the university.
Do you wish you
were married?
I think about it sometimes,
But I'm always working.
I think men are afraid to marry me
because I don't always stay at home.
I'm not a virgin any more.
What's going to
happen to me?
You are a brave girl.
What you did was self-defense.
It's ok.
Stop crying.
Let me see you.
You are a beautiful girl.
Now let's go to bed.
We have to go to court
first thing in the morning.
Get up.
Sit down.
Go ahead and sleep.
In October 1996,
while the defendant was
walking home from school,
the deceased,
Tadele Kebede, and six
other men abducted her.
Then Tadele took her virginity
by force the same night.
In order to save her life,
she shot and killed him.
This is the defendant's statement.
Your witness,
defense counsellor.
Your Honor, due to the
unusual nature of this case,
no one in this community is
willing to testify on her behalf.
So, we ask the court
for a six-month
extension to interview
potential witnesses.
Your Honour,
the defense knows that no witness
will come forward on her behalf
because she killed
a man in cold blood.
The defense is deliberately trying
to delay the court proceedings.
Only the court can delay or
expedite the court proceedings.
Therefore, I'm giving
you three months.
Excuse me.
I know you don't like me.
But this is not about me.
A young girl's life
is on the line.
You know that no witness is going
to come forward for Hirut.
The entire village is against her.
They want her dead.
You know she shot
him in self-defense.
If you don't have witnesses,
I can't help you.
All I know is that she
shot and killed a man.
There is no evidence
that shows otherwise.
Are you asking
me for a favor?
Yes, the villagers
want her dead.
Do you want me to
spare her life?
She's looking at life in prison.
It's your decision.
How do you do, ma'am?
- How do you do?
- Praise God.
Where can I find Alemayehu?
Do you know each other?
Are you related?
Oh, no.
I just...
I'm helping a young girl
from the next village
and I can't seem to find anyone
who wants to help her.
Are you the woman that they
talk about on the radio?
God bless you for what you
are doing for the young girl.
That's his house.
Thank you.
You shouldn't go around advertising
that you are helping that girl.
That would not
be useful for you.
Excuse me.
My name is Meaza Ashenafi
and I'm a lawyer.
I know who you are.
You were there when Tadele
abducted Hirut, weren't you?
I was.
As his best man,
it's my job to help him.
I know I can't convince you
to testify in court.
Why are you trying to defend
a girl who murdered a man?
Because she was trying
to defend herself.
By taking his rifle
and shooting him?
She was running away from him
to get back to her parents.
He was trying to marry her.
I know you folks in the city don't approve
of our methods, but this is our tradition.
But don't you think it's wrong to
force a girl to have your children
even though she
doesn't love you?
Men abduct when
they fall in love.
And Tadele got angry when her family
told him that she didn't want him.
Even though his family had
arranged another wife for him,
he didn't want to miss
out on Hirut.
So, what do you think
should happen to Hirut?
The only punishment
fit for her is death.
And that is what will happen to
her if she ever comes back.
What's taking so long
with that wood?
I'm sorry, I didn't know
that we had a guest.
I'll prepare lunch.
It's ok.
She's just leaving.
Thank you for
speaking to me.
Good morning, Emnet.
Sorry I'm late. My car...
Mrs. Belaynesh, is everything ok?
Everything's ok,
I'm just here to bring you this.
Mrs. Belaynesh, you shouldn't have.
This isn't necessary.
It's ok, it didn't cost me anything.
I baked it myself.
Thank you.
I should be thanking you. Because
of you, I've got my husband back.
Thank you.
- Goodbye.
- Goodbye.
I'm in a jam.
I have a young girl living
in my house because
they want to kill her in her village.
And the police can't protect her.
Is this the girl who
killed her abductor?
Can you help her in
your orphanage?
You know I can't.
She has living parents.
We take girls without
living parents or relatives.
I know that, but this girl cannot
go back to her parents.
The dead man's family
has sworn to kill her.
Please, it's just going to be
for a little while.
She needs to be protected
while she's on trial.
I'll talk to the board.
Oh, one more thing.
No one should know where she is.
As far as I'm concerned,
she's still in danger.
This is Mrs. Elfinesh, the administrator.
You know Meaza.
- How do you do, Mrs. Elfinesh?
- Hi, Meaza.
I haven't seen you for a while.
And this is Hirut Assefa,
our newest member.
You are a very courageous girl.
No need to be shy.
We're all friends here.
Are you hungry?
Meaza is going to join us too.
Where did you find her?
The police found her as she
was running away from home.
Quiet, please, girls.
Please, quiet.
This is Hirut Assefa, the newest
member of our family.
And what do we
say to our sister?
Welcome to Addis Tesfa, Hirut!
Very good!
Hirut, do you want
to sit with us?
Go ahead and eat.
Is this a school?
Yes, it's a school.
But it's our home too.
I heard that the villagers
exiled Hirut.
Is it true?
That's why I'm here.
I want to ask your advice.
I asked the Assistant DA
to convince the elders to reverse
their decision, but he has refused.
I asked the Ministry of Justice
to do something about it.
They said, "We don't get mixed up
with the customary law. "
So, I'm prepared to challenge the
Ministry of Justice in the High Court.
Well, that's a serious step.
You'll have a hard time convincing
any judge to take your case.
They will be terrified to summon
the minister to court.
The law needs to be enforced.
They can't forbid her to
go home to her parents.
It's a violation of her freedom.
Look, Meaza, these cases
are hard to deal with.
There's never been a self-defense
case awarded to a woman.
Remember the recent ruling?
A judge ordered a young girl
to marry her abductor
because she is pregnant
with his child,
even though neither the girl nor her
parents agreed to the marriage.
You're right,
the law must be enforced.
But there are different
ways when
you're dealing with
government officials.
It's late, I have to get
back to the office.
- I can't file this case.
- Why?
You want to sue the
Minister of Justice?
You can read, right?
No judge will take this case.
What's the matter?
Why are you crying?
What's the matter, honey?
Did you have a nightmare?
What happened to her?
Did she fall down?
She didn't fall down,
she always sleeps on the floor.
I want to go home.
Please take me home.
Poor girl.
She misses her mum.
It's ok, it's going
to be all right.
It's ok.
Stop crying.
- What's wrong, Hirut?
- I want to go home.
- You know we can't go back yet.
- Why not?
Because it's dangerous.
I want to go home.
Listen to me, Hirut. I know you miss
your parents and your sister.
You don't know anything.
Why am I here?
You say you're helping me,
but you're using me for your own good.
I know what's going on.
I listen to the radio.
Hirut, please.
This is not like you.
I don't want to live here.
I want to be with my sister.
Yes, but we have to wait
until the court date.
You can see her there,
where we have protection.
- You don't understand.
- Believe me, I do understand.
I found it on her bed.
It's from her sister.
Her father pulled
her out of school.
- Hirut!
- Aregash!
Oh my God, Hirut,
is it really you?
- Mr. Assefa, how are you?
- Is everything all right?
- Please come in, Meaza.
- Ok, thank you.
You have grown so much.
What's it like in the city?
There are too many people.
It's loud.
The cars, the music.
I'm not allowed to leave
the orphanage that much.
I just go to school
and come back.
I'd love to come visit you.
- Hirut is here.
- What did you say? Where?
- Speak up, where did you see her?
- She came in a car.
There's a woman with her.
You should be getting back.
It's getting late.
Mr. Assefa, can I talk
to you for a second?
Please don't leave yet.
The food is almost ready.
It's getting late.
Why isn't Aregash
going to school?
I know you need help
at home, but...
It would destroy her mother
if anything happened to her.
Besides, I need someone
to watch the cattle.
- You have to go back.
- Father, please.
You must think about your mother,
and your sister too.
If they know you're here, it's not
going to be good for any of us.
We have to go.
- No! No... No. Aregash!
- What is it?
Hirut, get down!
You can stay with
me if you want.
It's all my fault.
None of this would've happened
if I hadn't run away.
Aregash would still
be in school.
None of it is your fault.
You know, I was once arrested
when I was your age.
It's true. It was during the
military government time.
13 of us were sent to a
resettlement camp to teach.
11 boys and two girls.
So, as always, the two of us girls
were supposed to cook.
I refused.
I was there to teach, I thought.
Then the girl accused me of not
doing my part as a woman,
and I was arrested and put in
a holding cell for two weeks.
How did you get out?
They knew I wasn't going to change
my mind. So, they let me out.
They wouldn't have liked
my cooking anyway.
- Why? - Because I didn't
know how to cook.
I still don't.
But I didn't tell them that.
They wouldn't have believed me.
You sure you want
to get out here?
Hello, Andinet.
Thank you.
Yes, I'll tell her.
- Hello Andinet.
- What's going on?
Thank you for your support.
We appreciate that.
"Andinet Women Lawyers Association,
a local non-profit organization... "
Do you believe this?
"... that provides free legal aid to
women who are victims of violence
"sued the Minister
of Justice today.
"The charges were filed after the
ministry refused to overturn
"the customary court's decision
"to exile
14-year-old Hirut Assefa
from her village. "
- Should I continue? There's more.
- Membere, we had to fight back.
What do you think the minister
is going to do now?
We can't risk it all
because of one girl.
Don't you get it? Hirut is what
we've been waiting for.
We had a good chance of convincing a
judge and getting the decision reversed.
But you had to go and sue
the Minister of Justice.
You know why I stayed here?
When I could work for any NGO
and make much more than cab fare?
- Meaza.
- Wait a second.
Because I thought I was
part of something bigger.
I stood by you while being
treated like a stepchild
by the media and
everybody else.
I am your partner.
My husband stays at home with
the kids while I'm here with you.
For what?
For Andinet or violence against
women to have any significance,
we must win this case.
If that doesn't happen, we're done.
Hirut's case can really start something.
But this is not
just about her.
We could lose everything,
including our foreign aid money.
How are we going to serve those
who depend on our services
if we can't keep
our doors open?
This girl killed a man
in self-defense.
But the court doesn't
believe that.
The Ministry of Justice, the governing
body of civil society and NGOs,
has suspended Andinet Women
Lawyers Association indefinitely.
Excuse me, please.
Are you ok?
Yeah, I'm ok.
Go inside.
I'm coming.
Hello, Gash Hiruy.
They shut down my organization.
They cannot shut me down
without a reason.
Hirut's court appointment
is in a month.
Where is Meaza Ashenafi?
I'm here to inform you that, due to
the suspension of your organization,
you are no longer Hirut's lawyer.
That means Hirut is to be placed back
in custody of the village police.
Where is the girl?
- She isn't here.
- Then, where is she?
I don't know.
Not here.
She isn't here, sir.
I will give you a day to bring
her to the police station.
Don't forget she is in your
custody by court order.
I don't need to remind you that you
are responsible for her whereabouts.
Let's go.
Next case.
Your Honour,
the court calls Andinet Women
Lawyers Association,
case number 217.
Andinet Women Lawyers Association
versus the Ministry of Justice.
- Look, counsellor...
- Honorable Court,
Andinet Women Lawyers Association
wants to be heard in this courtroom.
I know that the
Minister is not here.
But if he were here, what I would
want to say to him is that I am...
Hirut is not a murderer.
Actually, she is a brave girl.
We all have a lot
to learn from her.
Our citizens have a
given right to freedom.
Yes, including women.
Hirut knows her rights.
Of course, except for the limitations
that are put on her by tradition.
I was a judge before
I started this organization.
I left the seat because I was convinced
that the time had finally come
when all citizens of this country,
men, women, and children,
would be treated
equally under the law.
I still believe that.
The Ministry of Justice illegally shut down
our organization without explanation.
And, to date, no charges
have been made against us.
Your Honour, it is within our rights
to sue a civil servant in a court of law.
We have done nothing illegal.
If I'm at fault, my mistakes
shouldn't determine Hirut's fate.
Since this organization is
the people who are really affected
by the closure of the office
are the poor women and children
who otherwise have no legal
advice or representation.
So, I am asking this court
to do what's right.
Reinstate our permit and lift the ban
on our practice in the legal system.
Thank you, your Honour.
This court has heard your case.
But there will be no
judgement made
until this court hears from
the Ministry of Justice.
Next case.
We have to turn her
in to the police.
You've done what you can.
Is there anything I can do
to buy us time?
This is it, Aster.
- You again.
- May I sit down?
Whatever she's drinking.
Thank you.
Where did you tell your
husband you were going?
I said I was going out drinking.
Not playing by the books
these days, are you?
Sorry I left you.
You don't have
to be sorry.
It's all my fault.
I'm with you.
I thought I would
find you here.
- How are you?
- They fired the Minister of Justice.
They say he resigned,
but I know he got fired.
Are you sure?
The ministry has reinstated your permit.
It'll be all over the news any minute.
- What time do you have?
- We can make it.
Good morning, listeners.
Today we are broadcasting
from the Central Village
Regional High Court.
We will transmit live the court
proceedings and the judges' decision.
It is dead quiet here in the courtroom
as the three judges walk in.
The courtroom is so hushed,
you can hear every word being
written on a piece of paper.
Hirut stands in the
defendant's dock.
All eyes in the room are on her.
Your Honour,
we'd like to call a witness.
- Mr. Gebeyehu Gebru.
- Present.
Your Honour, this man was not
present at the time of the murder.
I will allow the witness.
Sit down.
Do you know the defendant?
Yes, I know Hirut.
You were at the police station
when Hirut was brought in, right?
Kill her!
She should be hung!
So, if you have heard her statement,
can you explain to the court
what happened after she was taken
to the abductor's home?
She said she was exhausted
by the beating
they had given her on
the way to his house.
And then on the same night,
her abductor raped her
and took her virginity.
I didn't see her
doing the killing.
I just saw her at the police station
while she was making her statement.
Are you done?
Earlier that day, I saw Tadele
and his friends riding their horses.
They were carrying a gun, too.
Where were they going?
They were heading
towards the school.
You may step down.
Defendant, what do you have
to say in your defense?
I don't think of myself
as a murderer.
All I did was protect myself.
I don't feel sorry for that man.
I could have been killed.
At the moment, the three judges
are talking among themselves.
And here is the Head Judge.
We have heard the witnesses
on both sides
and seen the report of the pathologist
attached to this case.
We found, in the evidence of the
defense and the pathologist's report,
that the deceased used force
to harm the defendant.
His actions violated the law.
The court understands
that the defendant was
deprived of the right
she has been given by the law
to protect herself.
The actions you took...
were the only course
you had to defend yourself.
So, according to paragraph 74,
you will not be convicted
for what you did.
The court sets you free.
Why are you crying, Hirut?
We won.
I don't feel like I won anything.
I can't even protect
my little sister.
They will get her one day.
Can't you see that?
I can't save her.
Drop me off here, please.
- What's wrong, Hirut?
- I just want to walk.
Stop the car, Samuel.
Are you sure you know
where you're going?
Yes, I know it from here.