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Protests in Iraq after YouTube star allegedly strangled in ‘honour killing’

On Sunday, dozens of protestors from Iraq gathered to protest the “honour murder” of a YouTube star aged 22 – she was allegedly strangled and killed by her father.

Tiba Ali was murdered in Diwaniyah on 31 January.

According to some reports, her father allegedly strangled Ms Ali while she was sleeping at night. Later, he surrendered to police.

Residents and women’s rights groups condemned the “honour killing”, which was met with condemnation by residents and women’s organizations. They also called for reform of the legislation to impose harsher penalties on those who perpetrate violence against women in Iraq.


Who’s Tiba Ali?

Image: Tiba Ali was the target of protests in Iraq. Pic: AP
Image: Honour killings are common in many communities all over the globe. Pic:AP

Tiba Ali was a Turkish-born woman who had lived in Turkey for a while and had a YouTube channel that had more than 20,000 subscribers. It documented her life with her Syrian-born boyfriend.

Ms Ali stated that she moved to Turkey to continue her education, but she chose to remain in Turkey as she loved living there.

According to reports, her father did not approve of the move nor her plans for marriage.

Saad Maan, a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, stated that Ms Ali and her dad had been in a heated argument during a trip to Iraq. The day before Ali’s murder, the local police intervened to assist them in reaching a settlement.

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“Honour killings,” are not only a problem in Iraq, but all over the world. The United Nations estimates that about 5,000 honour murders took place worldwide in 2010. These crimes are often not covered by the media.

However, the penal code of Iraq allows husbands to “discipline their wives,” which can include beatings.

The country’s Article 409 reduces the sentences for murder of men who kill or permanently injure their wives or relatives due to adultery to a maximum of three years.

Protesters assembled and raised banners against the killings and urged legislative reforms.

One placard stated, “There is no honour for the crime of murdering women.”

Protester Israa Al-Salman stated to The Associated Press that anyone who wishes to kill a woman should accuse her of disgracing and killing her dignity.

Image: Protestors hold placards to protest the murder of Tiba Ali. Pic by AP
Image: Tiba Ali’s father killed her in Iraq. Pic: AP

‘Tribal justifications for killings are ‘unacceptable’

Rosa al-Hamid is an activist for the civil society group Organisation for Women’s Freedom in Iraq. She urged authorities to adopt a long-stalled draft bill against domestic violence, which has been languishing in the Iraqi Parliament since 2019.

According to her, “Tiba was murdered by her father in tribal justifications that are unacceptable”, she told AP.

Aya Majzoub (Amnesty International deputy director, Middle East and North Africa), stated that violence against Iraqi women and girls will continue until “Iraqi officials adopt robust legislation to safeguard women and girls from gender-based abuse.”

The Diwaniyah city police and hospital administration refused to comment on Ms Ali’s passing.


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