Iraqi YouTuber Murdered by Father in Honor Killing to 'Wash Away Shame' After She Left Family Because Brother Sexually Assaulted Her

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A YouTube star has been killed by her own father in a so called "honor" killing, sparking outrage across Iraq.

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.

Ali's Father was Unhappy About Her Living Alone in Turkey

Tiba al-Ali
Tiba al-Ali Twitter

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."

Ali had gained a following on YouTube, where she posted videos of her daily life and in which her fiancé often appeared. A police source speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity meanwhile confirmed that the "dispute" dated back several years.

'My Brother Assaulted Me'

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.

According to audio recordings circulating on social media of an argument between Ali and her father, she left the family to live in Turkey because she was sexually assaulted by her brother. "You know what your son did to me," she says in the audio clip. "My brother assaulted me."

Listen to the audio recording below:

Ali was Drugged, Taken Back to Family Home

Local media reported that the influencer had agreed to meet her mother at a friend's house in Baghdad and was astonished when the whole family turned up.

She is said to have been drugged and taken back to the family home in Al-Qadisiyyah Governorate. When she came to her senses, says local media, she rowed furiously with her father. But as she later slept, he came into her room and strangled her to death.

Her father turned himself in to police, telling them he had killed his own daughter to "wash away the shame."

Ali's Death Sparks Outrage in Iraq

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.

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."

This article was first published on February 4, 2023