Tiba al-Ali (22) was killed by her father, despite attempts by the police to mediate the dispute between her and her family.
The death of a young YouTube star at the hands of her father has sparked outrage in Iraq, where so-called “honor killings” continue to occur.
Tiba al-Ali, 22, was killed by her father on January 31 in the southern province of Diwaniya, interior ministry spokesman Saad Maan said on Twitter on Friday.
Police tried to mediate between al-Ali – who lived in Turkey and was visiting Iraq – and her relatives to “resolve the family dispute in a final way”, Maan said.
Unverified recordings of conversations between al-Ali and her father appear to show that he was not happy about her decision to live alone in Turkey.
Maan said that after the first meeting of the police with the family, “we were surprised the next day … with the news that she was killed by her father, as he admitted in his first confessions.”
He gave no further details about the nature of the dispute.
Al-Ali gained a following on YouTube, where she posted videos of her daily life, often featuring her fiancé.
A police source who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity, meanwhile, confirmed that the “family dispute” dates back to 2015.
Al-Ali traveled to Turkey with her family in 2017 but refused to join them upon their return, choosing instead to stay in Turkey where she has lived since then, a police source said.
There is no honor in so-called honor killings. Who justifies the criminal. Whoever killed a good man is a criminal. Worse than a criminal. God willing, and whoever intentionally kills a believer will be punished in Hell, where he will remain forever. #correct _ good pic.twitter.com/g6Why64m0B
– Iraqi 🇮🇶🇮🇶 (@AhmdYwss) February 4, 2023
Translation: There is no ‘honor’ in so-called honor killings..whoever justifies the actions of the criminal who killed Tiba is a criminal himself…and whoever dishonors Tiba’s life is a person without honor.
To date, no law in Iraq criminalizes domestic violence.
The draft law on domestic violence was first introduced in parliament in 2014, but progress has stalled amid widespread political opposition from lawmakers who believe it would erode Iraq’s social fabric.
Al-Ali’s death sparked outrage among Iraqis on social media, who called for protests in the capital Baghdad on Sunday to demand justice in response to her death.
“Women in our societies are held hostage by backward customs due to the lack of legal deterrents and government measures – which are currently not commensurate with the magnitude of the crime of domestic violence,” veteran politician Ala Talabani wrote on Twitter.
Until the Iraqi authorities pass strong laws to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, we will inevitably continue to witness horrific murders like the one suffered by Tiba Ali, apparently by her own father.
— Amnesty Iraq (@AmnestyIraq) February 4, 2023
Rights activist Hanaa Edwar told AFP that, according to voice recordings attributed to the young woman, “she left her family… because her brother sexually assaulted her.”
The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights also reported the claims. The AFP could not independently verify the authenticity of the voice recordings.
Amnesty International condemned the “horrific” killing, saying that “Iraqi criminal law still treats so-called ‘honour crimes’ which involve violent acts such as assault and even murder, lightly.”
“Until the Iraqi authorities adopt strong laws to protect women and girls… we will inevitably continue to witness horrific killings,” said Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, Aya Majzoub.