Dozens of Iraqi protesters gathered on Sunday to condemn the so-called “honour killing” of a 22-year-old YouTube star who was allegedly strangled by his father, spurring calls for law changes to protect women. .
Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Maan said on Friday that Tiba Ali was murdered in the central city of Diwaniya on January 31 by his father, who turned himself in to the police. According to reports, Ali’s father strangled him at night while he was asleep.
The so-called “honor killings” have faced criticism from women’s rights groups and the public, who have alarmed the violence against women in Iraq and the need to change laws to impose harsher punishments on perpetrators.
Protesters held banners condemning the killings and calling for legislative reform. There was a placard that read, “There is no honor in crimes that kill women.”
“Anyone who wants to get rid of a woman will accuse her of violating her dignity and kill her,” protester Isla al-Salman told the Associated Press.
Some held placards saying, ‘Stop killing women’ and ‘Tiva’s killer should be held accountable.’
Another demonstrator, Rina Ali, said: “We will continue to mobilize as domestic violence and the killing of women are on the rise.”
Article 41 of the country’s penal code allows husbands to “discipline” their wives, including beatings. Section 409, on the other hand, reduces the murder sentence to a maximum of three years in prison for a man who kills or permanently maims his wife or female relative for adultery.
Rosa Al-Hamid, an activist for the Civil Society Group for Women’s Freedom in Iraq, has urged authorities to pass a long-stall bill against domestic violence that has remained in the Iraqi parliament since 2019.
“Tiva was killed by her father under unacceptable tribal justification,” she told the Associated Press.
Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Aya Maizoob, said at a news conference that Iraqi women and girls will continue to face challenges until “the Iraqi authorities adopt strong legislation to protect women and girls from gender-based violence.” said the violence against
Diwaniya city police and hospital administrators declined to comment to AP on Ali’s death.
Tiba Ali lives in Istanbul, Turkey, has a YouTube channel with over 20,000 subscribers, and documents her life in the Turkish city with her boyfriend, a Syrian-born real estate investor. was doing. In her first YouTube video in November 2021, Ali moved to Turkey to further her education, but she enjoyed her life in Turkey so she stayed. She said she chose
Her father reportedly disagreed with the move, nor did she agree to her plans to marry her partner. The day before she was killed, she said local community police intervened and reached a settlement.
The Iraqi NGO Support Her Organization for Women’s Rights shared an audio recording Ali allegedly sent to a friend the night before he was killed. In her recording, she confronts her mother and father about not returning to Iraq after she was sexually assaulted by her brother. The audio ends with her father screaming and beating her as she screams in pain. The AP was unable to independently verify the authenticity of voice recordings.
Between Sunday’s demonstrations, human rights activist Hannah Edward was greeted by a Supreme Judicial Council magistrate to voice protesters’ grievances.
UN mission in Iraq in a statement on Sunday He condemned Ali’s “hateful killing” and called on the Baghdad government to enact “a law that specifically criminalizes gender-based violence.”
AFP contributed to this report.