Finalist, The Rory Peck Award for Features

Ahmed Farah (Dutch)

October 2012, Somalia

Somali Justice

Commissioned and broadcast by Channel 4 News

This short film chronicles the consequences of brutal crime in perhaps the world’s most unstable country.  With reporter Jamal Osman, Ahmed tells the story of Mohammed, found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. He films him in death row in Bossasso prison. He films the family of his victim who have the right to pardon him, demand blood money, or carry out the execution themselves. And he films Mohammed's mother who cannot raise the funds - the price of 100 camels - eventually decided upon as the price for her son's freedom.

We see - for the first time on television - inside a courtroom during a Sharia law trial, and we see the small tree at Bossasso's cemetery where condemned men are tied before being shot dead by their victims' family. A gravedigger explains that the families always rush away afterwards.

Watch Ahmed Farah's full report on the Channel 4 News website.


Ahmed Farah's family escaped the conflict in Somalia to Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya where they lived until being relocated to Holland.  Ahmed was then given a scholarship to a film academy there. He worked for MTV Europe as a cameraman and editor before returning to East Africa to work in training and managing fledgling Somali TV channels Universal TV and Horn Cable.  He also founded Riyo films with the aim of creating a vibrant film industry in the country. One of their films - Entering Paradise With Your Shoes On - featured at the Zanzibar International Film Festival.

Channel 4 Feature

Judges Comments

"He obviously worked very hard - very sensitively - to get the trust of the people we see in the film which has a calm and beautiful compassion - you can see it in the camera-work and the story-telling. He has an incredible way with his camera to produce such haunting images."