BAGHDAD: Iraqi activists protested on Sunday to demand a law against domestic violence, days after a YouTuber was strangled by her father in a killing that sparked outrage in the conservative country.
Tiba al-Ali, 22, was killed by her father on January 31 in the southern province of Diwaniyah, interior ministry spokesman Saad Maan had said on Twitter on Friday.
Maan said 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 murdering his daughter.
On Sunday, security forces prevented some 20 activists from demonstrating outside the country’s Supreme Judicial Council, and they gathered instead at a road leading to the building, a journalist said.
Some held placards saying “Stop killing women” and “Tiba’s killer must be held to account”.
“We demand laws to protect women, especially laws against domestic violence,” 22-year-old protester Rose Hamid said.
“We came here to protest against Tiba’s murder and against all others. Who will be the next victim?” Another demonstrator, Lina Ali, said: “We will keep mobilising because of rising domestic violence and killings of women.”
On the sidelines of Sunday’s demonstration, human rights activist Hanaa Edwar was received by a magistrate from the Supreme Judicial Council to whom she presented the protesters’ grievances.
The United Nations mission in Iraq in a statement on Sunday condemned Ali’s “abhorrent killing” and called on the Baghdad government to enact “a law that explicitly criminalises gender-based violence”.
Ali had lived in Turkey since 2017 and was visiting Iraq when she was killed, a security official in Diwaniyah said.
In Turkey, she had gained a following on YouTube, posting videos of her daily life in which her fiance often appeared.
Recordings have been shared on social media by a friend of Ali, and picked up by activists, reportedly of conversations with the father, angry because she was living in Turkiye. In the recordings, she also accuses her brother of sexual assault.
Published in Dawn, February 6th, 2023
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