IRAQ: The death of a young Iraqi YouTube star at the hands of her father has prompted outrage in Iraq, as so-called “honor” killings continue to take place in the conservative nation.
Tiba al-Ali, 22, was murdered by her father on January 31 in the southern province of Diwaniya. Saad Maan, a spokesperson for the interior ministry, tweeted on Friday.
The police had tried to mediate between Ali and her relatives to “resolve the family dispute in a definitive manner,” said Maan. Ali lived in Turkey and was visiting Iraq. According to reports, Ali’s father disapproved of her choice to live alone in Turkey.
Maan claimed that following the police’s first interaction with the family, “The next day… we were shocked to learn of her death at the hands of her father, as he revealed in his early confessions.” He did not elaborate further on the nature of the disagreement.
Ali had gained thousands of subscribers on her YouTube channel, where she shared videos of her daily activities and in which her fiance frequently appeared.
Meanwhile, a police source who spoke to AFP under the condition of anonymity said that the “dispute” dated back several years.
She had travelled to Turkey in 2017 with her family, but she refused to leave the country with them and instead stayed and has been living there ever since, as per the police source.
Ali’s death has prompted outrage among Iraqis on social media platforms, who have called for demonstrations in Baghdad on Sunday to demand justice.
Ala Talabani, a veteran politician, wrote on Twitter, “Women in our societies are hostage to backward customs due to the absence of legal deterrents and government measures—which are currently not commensurate with the size of domestic violence crimes.”
Hanaa Edwar, a human rights activist, told AFP that, in audio recordings allegedly belonging to Ali, “she left her family… because she was sexually assaulted by her brother.”
Additionally, the claim was made public by the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights. The accuracy of the voice recordings could not be independently confirmed by AFP.
Amnesty International denounced the “horrific” murder, stating that “the Iraqi legal system still treats leniently so-called “honour crimes,” involving severe acts like assault and even murder.”
Aya Majzoub, Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, stated, “We will certainly continue to witness horrendous deaths until Iraqi authorities enact strong legislation to safeguard women and girls.”
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