Tiba al-Ali, 22, started her YouTube channel after moving from her native Iraq to Turkey, aged of 17, in 2017, talking about her independence, her fiancé, make-up and other things
Tiba who moved to improve her education, chose to stay because she enjoyed life there, gaining a huge following with her fun-loving videos about her life
Her dad Tayyip Ali did not agree with his daughter’s move to Turkey, nor her decision to marry her Syrian-born fiancé, with whom she lived in Istanbul
Ali, strangled her to death in her sleep by her dad on Jan 31, when she went back to Iraq to visit her family in the southern province of Diwaniyay
Killer turned himself in to the police, but was sentenced to only six months in prison, because the killing was not considered to have been “pre-meditated”
Hundreds of women took to the streets in Iraq to protest against legislation around “honor killings”, the sentence has only exacerbated sentiments against misogyny enshrined in the penal code
Iraqi Penal Code permits “honor” as a mitigation for crimes of violence committed against family members
Istanbul based famous YouTuber Tiba al-Ali was strangled to death in January when she went back to Iraq to visit her family – by her father. However, the killing was not considered to have been “pre-meditated” and her father was sentenced to only six months in prison. sparking protests about misogyny
Iraqi-born, Istanbul based YouTuber Tiba al-Ali became a hit with her fun-loving videos about her life.
She started her channel after moving from her native Iraq to Turkey at the age of 17 in 2017, talking about her independence, her fiancé, make-up and other things. Tiba appeared happy and attracted tens of thousands of subscribers.
However her untimely death, at the hands of a family member no less, has put the spotlight on outdated laws failing to protect women from harm and gender-based violence across the world.
Engaged in a long running feud with her father, who disapproved of her choices, Tiba al-Ali was murdered by her dad in January, when she went back to Iraq to visit her family. However, the killing was not considered to have been “pre-meditated” and her father was sentenced to only six months in prison.
Tiba’s death sparked protests across Iraq about its laws regarding so-called “honor killings”, the case highlighting how women are treated in a country where conservative attitudes remain dominant.
Tiba who posted videos daily and enjoyed the new lifestyle Turkey had opened up for her, built an online following of more than 20,000 subscribers. That figure which has swelled since her death.
She posted videos daily and enjoyed the new lifestyle Turkey had opened up for her.
Tiba al-Ali, 22, built an online following of more than 20,000 subscribers, a figure which has been on the increase since her death.
She posted videos daily and enjoyed the new lifestyle Turkey had opened up for her. In her first video in November 2021, Tiba said she moved to improve her education, but chose to stay because she enjoyed life there.
Her father, Tayyip Ali, reportedly disapproved of her decision to move and live alone, abroad. He also disapproved of decision to marry her Syrian-born fiancé, with whom she lived in Istanbul.
It is believed Tiba became involved in a family dispute when she returned to Iraq to visit her home in Diwaniya in January.
According to reports, Tayyip Ali strangled his daughter to death in her sleep on 31 January as she was visiting the family in the southern province of Diwaniyay . He later turned himself in to the police.
A member of the local government where Tiba was killed said her father was sentenced in April to the short prison term.
Tiba al-Ali had gained a following on YouTube, where she posted videos of her daily life and in which her fiance often appeared. Her father disapproved of her life choices, including residing in Turkey and deciding to marry her Syrian-born fiancé
In the wake of Tiba’s murder and seeming utter lack of retribution, hundreds of women took to the streets in Iraq to protest against legislation around “honor killings”.
The Iraqi Penal Code permits “honor” as a mitigation for crimes of violence committed against family members. The Code allows for lenient punishments for “honor killings” on the grounds of provocation or if the accused had “honorable motives”.
Iraq’s interior ministry spokesman, Gen Saad Maan, maintains that: “An accident happened to Tiba al-Ali. In the perspective of law, it is a criminal accident, and in other perspectives, it is an accident of honor killings.”
Demonstrators hold placards and a poster with a picture of Tiba Ali, a YouTube star who was recently killed by her father, in Diwaniya, Iraq, in January
According to Gen Maan, Tiba and her father had a heated argument during her stay in Iraq. Maan said
that the day preceding her murder, police had attempted to intervene.
When asked about the response of authorities to the killing, Gen Maan said: “Security forces dealt with the case with the highest standards of professionalism and applied the law.
“They started a preliminary and judicial investigation, gathered all the evidence and referred the file to the judiciary to pass a sentence.”
Tiba’s killing, and the lenient sentence handed to her father, sparked outrage among Iraqi women and women’s rights activists across the world about the lack of protection from domestic violence for women and girls under Iraqi law.
The killing of the influencer without retribution resonated with women in Iraq and on social media staging protests about the misogyny enshrined in a penal code that is soft on femicide
For instance, in Article 41 of Iraq’s penal code the “punishment of a wife by her husband” and “the disciplining by parents… of children under their authority within certain limits” are considered legal rights.
Article 409 meanwhile states: “Any person who surprises his wife in the act of adultery or finds his girlfriend in bed with her lover and kills them immediately or one of them, or assaults one of them so that he or she dies or is left permanently disabled, is punishable by a period of detention not exceeding three years.”
Female rights activist, Dr Leyla Hussein told the BBC: “These killings are often rooted in misogyny and a desire to control women’s bodies and behavior.
“Using the term “honor killing” can be harmful to the victims and their families,” she said. “It reinforces the idea that they are somehow responsible for their own deaths, that they brought it upon themselves by doing something wrong or shameful.”
The UN has estimated that 5,000 women and girls across the world are murdered by family members each year in “honor killings”.
There has been rising push back on various sections of Iraqi law imbue men with the right to exercise violence on women
Five days after Tiba’s death, Iraqi security forces prevented 20 activists from demonstrating outside the Supreme Judicial Council in Baghdad.
They held placards saying “Stop killing women” and “Stop [article] 409”, and chanted: “There is no honor in the crime of killing women.”
Ruaa Khalaf, an Iraqi activist and human rights defender, said: “Iraqi law greatly needs to be improved, amended and harmonized with international conventions.”
Ms Khalaf said the sentence handed to Tiba’s father was “unfair”, and that she saw such cases as evidence of “provisions and legislations that violate women’s rights”.
Hanan Abdelkhaleq, an Iraqi advocate for women’s rights, said: “They need to find a solution. This must stop. Killing women has become too simple.
“Strangling, stabbing. It has become easy. We hope that the law will stop article 409, cancel it.”
Other female activists on social media also noted that Tiba’s killing was not an isolated incident and that many “honor killings” went unreported.
The murder has sparked conversations about tougher laws to protect women in the country and beyond.
Five days after Tiba’s death, Iraqi security forces prevented 20 activists from demonstrating outside the Supreme Judicial Council in Baghdad. The twenty demonstrators stood outside the Judicial Council with their placards
Ala Talabani, head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s bloc in the Iraqi parliament, said: “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.”
She called on fellow MPs to pass the draft Anti-Domestic Violence Law, which explicitly safeguards family members from acts of violence, including homicides and severe physical harm.
The United Nations Mission in Iraq said Tiba’s “abhorrent killing” was a “regretful reminder of the violence and injustice that still exists against women and girls in Iraq today”.
It also called on the Iraqi government to “support laws and policies to prevent violence against women and girls, take all necessary measures to address impunity by ensuring that all perpetrators of such crimes are brought to justice and the rights of women and girls are protected”.
For many, Tiba’s story has put the spotlight on outdated laws failing to protect women from harm and gender-based violence across the world.
But for others she is just another example of what is often covered up and the thousands before her who never had their story told.