‘Honour’ killing of YouTube star sparks outrage in Iraq
The death of a young YouTube star at the hands of her father has sparked outrage in Iraq, as so-called “honour” killings continue in the conservative country.
Tiba al-Ali, 22, was killed by her father on 31 January in the southern province of Diwaniya, interior ministry spokesperson Saad Maan said on Twitter on Friday.
Police had attempted to mediate between Ali – who lived in Turkey and was visiting Iraq – and her relatives to “resolve the family dispute in a definitive manner”, Maan said.
Ali’s father was reported to have been unhappy about her decision to live alone in Turkey.
Maan said that after the police’s initial encounter with the family “we were surprised the next day … with the news of her killing at the hands of her father, as he admitted in his initial confessions”.
He did not give further details on the nature of the dispute.
Ali had gained a following on YouTube, where she posted videos of her daily life and in which her fiance often appeared.
A police source speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity meanwhile confirmed that the “dispute” dated back several years.
She had travelled to Turkey with her family in 2017, but she refused to return home with them and stayed in the country and lived there since, the police source said.
Her death has sparked uproar among Iraqis on social media, who have called for protests in Baghdad on Sunday to demand justice in response to her death.
“Women in our societies are hostage to backward customs due to the absence of legal deterrents and government measures – which currently are not commensurate with the size of domestic violence crimes,” wrote veteran politician Ala Talabani on Twitter.
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Human rights activist Hanaa Edwar told AFP that, according to voice recordings attributed to Ali, “she left her family … because she was sexually assaulted by her brother”.
The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights also reported the allegation. AFP could not independently verify the authenticity of the voice recordings.
Amnesty International condemned the “horrific” killing, saying “the Iraqi penal code still treats leniently so called ‘honour crimes’ comprising violent acts such as assault and even murder”.
Its deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Aya Majzoub, said: “Until the Iraqi authorities adopt robust legislation to protect women and girls … we will inevitably continue to witness horrific murders.”
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