CRIME AND PUNISHMENT by Nour Bassem

Belle’s Case
“..At the end, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve all been criminals for a least once in our lives; we’ve all committed crimes against our families, friends, lovers or even ourselves; we’ve all broken some rules for the sake of someone or something; we’ve all sinned. The difference between us and other criminals is that their crimes send them to jail, while ours imprison us in the prison of memories. Dear listeners, you were listening to Cases, presented to you by Amalie Green on Family Radio. Meet us every Friday and Saturday 11p.m, and good night”.
“Well done, Amie” said the manager entering the room “you were awesome as usual, my favorite broadcaster”.
“Thank you, Mr.Edgar”.
“Thank YOU!” Said Mr.Edgar “Now, I want you to focus on tomorrow’s case; as it’s a very important and sensitive one”.
“What’s the case?”
“Rape! A police chief raped a poor girl called Belle. I want you and your team to get all the information you can get about this case; in order to discuss it tomorrow”
“Yes, sir”.
Amalie went to her office, sat in front of her laptop, and her only team member, Zack, sat beside her..
“We have a rape case, a girl raped by a police chief” said Amalie.
“Yes, I know. I got the case’s file and I made a quick search on the topic” said Zack.
“And what did you find?”.
“I wrote what exactly happened in this incident in the file in front of you, you can take a look on the details. The girl’s name is Belle. She’s from a very poor family, yet she’s naturally beautiful. The police chief is called Sir Hugo, he’s—“
“—sorry, I have to answer this, it’s Mr.Edgar” said Amalie picking up her phone “Hello? Mr.Edgar—“
“Amalie, I know it’s late but I’m calling to tell you that tomorrow’s case is replaced with another one, I sent you an e-mail with it’s full details” said Mr.Edgar.
“But why? It’s an important case and discussing it will help in getting the girl’s right”.
“Miss Amalie!! Orders are orders!”.
“.. yes, sir” said Amalie putting her phone on the desk.
“So, they threatened him?” Said Zack.
“Or bribed him” said Amalie “I guess Hugo is trying to get off scot-free”
The next day, 11p.m, Amalie entered the studio..
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to a new episode from Cases. Today’s case is very sensitive, that I received orders not to discuss it, but I think that a case like this is worth not executing the orders. A girl from a very poor family went to the police station to report that someone has robbed her house. But the police chief, instead of helping her, he raped her, and he’s expecting to get off scot-free. Sir Hugo, the police chief, who’s supposed to help the people and to bring justice to the city is, on the contrary, abusing and raping them…. That’s it for today ladies and gentlemen. Let us know what you think by using the hashtag #Belle_case. Meet you next Friday 11p.m on Family Radio, and good night”
The next day, first thing in the morning, Amalie was told that Mr.Edgar asked to see her as soon as she arrive to the station. So, she went to his office.
“Good morning, sir. You asked to see me” said Amalie entering the room.
“Amalie, I ordered you not to discuss Belle’s case!” Said Mr.Edgar angrily.
“Yes, sir. But—“
“Miss Amalie, I’ve always treated you as my daughter, but what you’ve done was a big mistake. You’re going to harm me, the channel and yourself”.
“Sir, I did what I’m sure is right, and I don’t regret doing so”said Amalie calmly “ we must help those who can’t help themselves. She’s a poor girl alone in front of a monster that doesn’t know mercy”.
“Never say this about Mr.Hugo” demanded Mr.Edgar “Mr.Hugo is a good man, Amalie”.
“Are you sure? Then who do you think is better him or his money?”.
“Miss Amalie you’re crossing a red line!!” Fumed Mr.Edgar “This is your first and last warning, Amalie. Follow the orders and don’t get yourself in bigger problems”.
“Yes, sir”.
Amalie went to her office trying not to show her anger. She sat on her desk and Zack came to her.
“Amie, there’s something—“
“—Zack! I want to see Belle! Bring me her address!”.
“Actually I was about to tell you.. I just knew that Hugo imprisoned her”.
“What?! Are you sure?”.
“Yes, I’m sure”.
“He did so because of yesterday’s episode, right?”.
“No, she’s been imprisoned since the day of the incident l, but no one new” said Zack “actually, there’s something else ..”.
“What else?” Responded Amalie.
“I also knew that hw ordered not to let anyone see or talk to her”.
“This Hugo guy is out of his mind!! To prevent her from talking he put her in jail and forbid her from seeing anyone, although she’s innocent and he’s the criminal!”.
“What are we gonna do now?”.
“I have no idea..” sighed Amalie “Mr.Edgar sent me a new case, but I can’t just let Belle’s case pass, she needs us!”.
“I think your phone is ringing” said Zack pointing at Amalie’s bag.
“It’s an unknown number..” said Amalie looking at her phone screen, then she answered “hello?”.
“Miss Amalie Green?” Said an unfamiliar voice.
“Yes, who’s talking?”.
“It’s Hugo”.
“Oh! The criminal ?”.
“The police chief!”.
“Whatever. If you’re calling to tell me to stop what I’m doing, then I’d like to tell you not to bother, I won’t let this case pass easily”.
“No, I’m not calling to say so..”.
“Then, what do you want?”.
“I want to meet you. Can you come to my office?”.
“I agree on meeting you, but not in your office. Come to my office on Wednesday 11a.m.”.
“Okay, see you then”.
She ended the call without replying, then she turned to Zack again.
“It’s Hugo, he said he wants to meet me”.
“Why in your office and not in his, as he said?”.
“We must have the lead. Plus, it will give us a chance to record what he say”.
“I get your point..”.
“I’m very sure now that he’ afraid of us, we must keep him uncomfortable”.
Two days of searching, investing and hard work passed quickly. It was finally Wednesday, the day of the meeting.
“Miss Amalie, can I come in?” Said Hugo politely while knocking on the door.
Amalie didn’t answer, she pointed at a chair in front of her desk, so be sat on it.
“How are you, Hugo?”.
“I’m fine, thanks for asking”.
“And how’s Belle?”.
“You’re very straightforward, young girl” smiled Hugo “you know, you’re younger than I thought”.
“Why did you ask to meet me, Hugo?”.
“Look young girl, I’m being very polite and gentle with you, but I don’t like you attitude with me! I’m Sir Hugo to you!”.
“Since when do criminals have designations?”.
“Why do you insist on the idea that I’m a criminal? You don’t even have an evidence”.
“Then why are you here?”.
“To tell you to leave me alone. I’m not a criminal. Don’t you ever discuss false stories about me”.
“I promise I won’t” smirked Amalie.
“Are you making fun of me?”.
“If my stories were unreal, you wouldn’t have said this after I promised”.
“Young girl! Don’t get on my nerves, you don’t know what I can do!”
“Actually, I know what you can do, and I’m not afraid of you. But your visit wasn’t to threaten me with what you can do, I think it’s because you know exactly what I can do”.
He took a deep breath to calm down , then said “Miss Amalie, I’m not threatening you. I’m just trying to tell you that I’m innocent, so please leave me alone”.
“If you’re innocent, then prove it”.
“I have no evidence. But if you did as I say, believe me, you’re gonna be treated as one of my daughters. I’ll give you the money you want, a house and a brand new car”.
“Oh! You have daughters?”.
“Miss Amalie would you please stop it!?”.
“I didn’t say anything, I was just asking. Why are you so angry?” Asked Amalie “tell m, Hugo, do you consider Belle as one of your daughters too ?”.
He began bitting his nails, then said calmly “I wish you a good morning, Miss Amalie” and left the room immediately.
By Friday, Amalie has taken her decision, and she decided to share it with her listeners.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. It’s Amalie Green and you’re listening to Cases. Dear listeners, I decided that if today is my last day in this world, I want to spend it in fighting for others’ right, specially Belle’s. Ladies and gentlemen, I think everyone now know that Belle is imprisoned, and that no one is allowed either to see or talk to her. Okay, before I begin discussing the case let us take this call.. Hello ? Mrs.Grace?”.
“Good evening Amalie”.
“Dear listeners, Mrs. Grace is Belle’s mother. Mrs. Grace would you please tell us what happened exactly?”.
“Okay.. two weeks ago, someone robbed our house, although we don’t have much things here and all what we have are very cheap things, yet they robbed us. Belle was very angry and decided to report what happened to the police. So, ehe went to the police station and didn’t return home until the next day, so, I decided to report her missing. But when I asked about her in the police station they told me that she’s imprisoned there. I asked to see her and the agreed. She didn’t look well at all, she told me that.. Sir Hugo.. raped her and put her in jail after doing so. After I left her, I told the press everything she told me; I knew that turning the case into the general opinion is the only way to save my daughter. The next day, when I went to see her, I knew that Sir Hugo ordered not to let anyone visit her..”
“Thank you so much Mrs.Grace. I’m really sorry for what you and your daughter went through. Ladies and gentlemen, there are many evidences against Hugo, and I’m going to let you listen and see them at the end of the episode. The innocent Sir Hugo came to my office two days ago. He was trying to convince me to stop talking about him. He also gave me me more than a great deal to make me agree on doing so. I actually promised him not to discuss any false news about him, which I won’t ever do. Sorry Sir Hugo, I had to record your phone call and your visit. Dear listeners, I’ll let you now hear the records, and you can also take a look on the video on our facebook page. I’ll leave you now with the records and I’ll let you judge it on your own. Let us know what you think by using the hashtag #Belle_case, and good night”.
The next day, 9p.m.Mr.Edgar asked to see Amalie in his office. He didn’t look angry, yet it was obvious that he was upset.
“Sit down Amalie” said Mr.Edgar calmly.
“Yes, sir. You asked to see me”.
“Did you and Zack finish today’s script?”.
“Yes, sir”.
“I guess you’re gonna change it”.
“Sir, I think I told you my decision before. I’m sorry m, I won’t leave this case”.
“I warned you!” I told you it’s your first and last warning!” Cried Mr.Edgar “you forgot that even if your program is about criminal cases you’re still a broadcaster not a detective or an investigator. Even if you were so, you would have to follow the orders!”.
“What are you trying to say, sir?”.
“You might be bringing us advertisers more than ever, but you’re putting the whole channel in danger!” Cried Mr.Edgar, then he took a deep breath and continued “Amalie, I’m sorry I have to dismiss you”.
“Dismiss?” Said Amalie in a shocked tone.
“Today’s your last episode, choose your words and don’t open Belle’s case”.
“Y..yes, sir”
Amalie spent the next two hours trying to avoid talking to anyone. She wrote her final speech, and she decided to do as Mr.Edgar ordered this time.
“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Today is the last episode from Cases. It has been two years since I launched this program, and to be honest, it really affected me and my life. I’ve learned lots of things here, while discussing all the previous cases with you. I’ve learned not to reform to the rules as long as the are wrong, to help those who can’t help themselves, to accept the idea that we all make mistakes, to do what’s right not what’s easy, and most importantly that our voice is stronger than anyone and anything, raising it up in the face of injustice will always be the best weapon. I enjoyed every episode in this program. You, ladies and gentlemen, were my second family, and this studio was my second home. I reached this moment, the moment I’m giving you my final speech, because I refused to do as I was ordered to do, I didn’t want to leave a person who needed our voices more than any other thing. But you know? I don’t regret doing so, and I’m telling you all, if this is your last day in this world, spend it in fighting for justice and others rights. I wish you enjoyed Cases, and I wish you learned from it as I did. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for your time, and good night” Amalie’s voice began to get quieter and her eyes were full of tears, and so was Mr.Edgar and Zack’s from behind the glass.
It wasn’t an easy day on Amalie, yet it passed, like all the harsh days before. The next day, in another part from the city, Hugo was the only satisfied person after Amalie was dismissed l. He was drinking his tea when a police officer entered the room.
“Sir Hugo”.
“At least knock the door you idiot!”.
“I’m sorry, but would you please take a look here?” He said so pointing at a window. Hugo went beside the window to see a lot of people protesting in front of the police station. They were all there because of Belle’s case; they wanted Hugo to be punished. They were all affected by what happened to Amalie. The signs they were holding said it all.
“Sir,Hugo.” Said the police officer “you are under arrest!”.
This week was an unforgettable one to Amalie. Hugo went to jail, Belle was finally free, the people brought her right and protected her dignity, and Amalie returned back to her work.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to a new episode from Cases. As I said in the previous episode, our voices are the most powerful weapon in the face of injustice. Belle is now free, and your protestation is the reason for that she’s walking now in the streets with her eyes not looking in the ground. Today, I’m so proud of you all. At the end of this case,I’d like to say that having either money or position won’t save you when you commit a crime, you’ll always be punished. You know what’s worse than being punished by law? It’s being punish by the thoughts of the inner you. We all have a good and a bad side, but we should always make the bad side serve the good one, in order to be better persons. We should be brave and admit our mistakes, even if doing so will hurt us, it’s much better than hurting an innocent person. Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve reached together the end of Belle’s case. Meet us tomorrow 11p.m on Family Radio with a new case, and good night”.
“End of case”