Iraqis protest killing of YouTube star by her father | Women’s Rights News

Demonstrators hold placards reading “stop killing women” and “Tiba’s killer must be brought to justice”.

Iraqis are protesting to demand a law against domestic violence, days after a YouTuber was strangled by her father in a murder that sparked outrage.

Tiba al-Ali, 22, was killed by her father on January 31 in the southern province of Diwaniya, interior ministry spokesman Saad Maan said, adding that there had been an attempt to mediate between the young woman and her relatives to resolve a “family dispute” .

The father later surrendered to the police and confessed to his daughter’s murder.

On Sunday, security forces prevented dozens of people from demonstrating outside the country’s Supreme Judicial Council and instead gathered on a road leading to the building.

Some held placards reading “Stop killing women” and “Tiba’s killer must be brought to justice.”

“We want laws to protect women, especially laws against domestic violence,” said 22-year-old protester Rose Hamid. “We came here to protest the killing of Tiba and everyone else. Who will be the next victim?”

Another demonstrator, Lina Ali, said: “We will continue to mobilize against the increasing domestic violence and killings of women.”

Protester Isra al-Salman, who wants al-Ali’s father to be executed for the crime, said: “Anyone who wants to get rid of a woman accuses her of dishonoring her and killing her.”

To date, no law in Iraq criminalizes domestic violence. A domestic violence bill was first introduced in parliament in 2014, but progress has stalled amid widespread political opposition from lawmakers who believe it will “destroy Iraq’s social fabric”.

Widespread condemnations

On the sidelines of Sunday’s demonstration, human rights activist Hanaa Edouard was received by a High Judicial Council magistrate to whom she presented the protestors’ grievances.

In a statement, the UN mission in Iraq condemned al-Ali’s “heinous murder” and called on the government in Baghdad to pass “a law that explicitly criminalises gender-based violence”.

Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Aya Majzoub, said in a press statement that violence against women and girls in Iraq will continue until “the Iraqi authorities adopt strong legislation to protect women and girls from violence based on gender’.

Article 41 of the country’s Penal Code allows husbands to “discipline” their wives, which includes beatings. Section 409, meanwhile, reduces murder sentences for men who kill or permanently injure their wives or relatives due to infidelity to three years in prison.

Iraqi women's rights activists hold up placards
Iraqi women’s rights activists hold up placards during a rally near the Supreme Judicial Council in Baghdad, Iraq [Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP]

A long struggle

Al-Ali had lived in Turkey since 2017 and was visiting Iraq when she was killed. In Turkey, she gained a following on YouTube, posting videos of her daily life, in which her fiance often appears.

Footage was shared on social media by a friend of Al-Ali and taken by activists, reportedly of conversations with her father, who was angry because she was living in Turkey. In the recordings, she also accuses her brother of sexual abuse.

Al Jazeera could not independently verify the authenticity of the voice recordings.

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