1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Iraq activists protest YouTube star's killing

February 5, 2023

Iraqi authorities say that the 22-year-old YouTube star was strangled by her father, who then turned himself into police. Activists called for broader judicial reforms to protect women and girls from violence.

Demonstrators carry a poster with a picture of Tiba Ali, a YouTube star who was recently killed by her father
Tiba Ali was killed by her father in Diwaniyah in her sleep after the two had an argument so heated local police intervenedImage: Hadi Mizban/AP Photo/picture alliance

Iraqis activists demonstrated on Sunday and called for legal reforms to protect women after the death of Tiba Ali, a 22-year-old YouTube star who was allegedly killed by her father while she slept.

Saad Maan, the interior ministry spokesperson, said Friday that Tiba Ali had been killed January 31 in Diwaniyah by her father. He said that he turned himself into police after strangling her while she slept.

AFP reported approximately 20 activists were blocked from demonstrating outside Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council and instead protested on the road leading to the building.

What do we know about her case?

Ali had 20,000 subscribers on YouTube and had been living in Istanbul while documenting life alongside her Syrian fiance, a real estate investor. She had moved to Turkey in 2017 to study but enjoyed her life there and had been living in Istanbul prior to her death.

Maan of the interior ministry said she had been on a visit to Iraq and that the day before her death, local police had to intervene in a heated dispute she had with her father.

After her death, women's rights groups and residents condemned the "honor killing"  and decried violence against women in Iraq and called for legislative reforms. They argued for the need to impose harsher punishments on those who violate laws against gender-based violence.

What happened at the protest?

Ali's death added impetus to calls for legal reforms to protect the rights of women.

Protesters held banners decrying Tiba Ali's death and demanded legal reforms to prevent gender-based violence.

One poster read, "There is no honor in the crime of killing women," while another read simply, "Stop killing women."

Rosa al-Hamid, an activist with the Organization for Women's Freedom in Iraq, urged lawmakers to pass a long-stalled bill against domestic violence. The bill has been lingering in the country's Parliament without passage since 2019.

"Tiba was killed by her father under tribal justifications that are unacceptable," al-Hamid told the AP.

"Who will be the next victim?" she asked.

Israa al-Salman, a protester, told AP, "Anyone who wants to get rid of a woman accuses her of disgracing her dignity and kills her," should be executed.

In a statement, Aya Majzoub, the Amnesty International Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said that violence against women and girls will go on until "Iraqi authorities adopt robust legislation to protect women and girls from gender-based violence."

Women's wrestling team breaking new ground in Iraq

What is the status of the law when it comes to protecting Iraqi women?

The country's penal code permits husbands to "discipline" their wives, which includes beating them, under Article 41.

Murder sentences for men who kill or permanently injure their wives or female relatives for adultery face up to three years in prison under Article 409.

ar/msh (AFP, AP)