Tiba al-Ali, 22, was killed by her father on January 31 in the southern province of Diwaniya, Iraq, the interior ministry spokesman Saad Maan said on Twitter today.

She had fled her homeland in 2017 to start a new life in Turkey and had planned to wed her Syrian-born boyfriend.

But when she returned to Iraq to support her country’s football team in the Arabian Gulf Cup in January, her family kidnapped her.

Police had attempted to mediate between Ali and her relatives to ‘resolve the family dispute in a definitive manner’, Maan said.

Unverified recordings of conversations between Ali and her father appeared to indicate that he was unhappy about her decision to live alone in Turkey.

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, says local media, she rowed furiously with her father.

But as she later slept, he came into her room and throttled her to death.

Her father – unnamed in local media – turned himself in to police, telling them he had killed his own daughter to “wash away the shame”. 

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’.

He did not give further details on the nature of the dispute.

Ali had gained a following on YouTube, where she posted videos of her daily life and in which her fiance often appeared.

A police source on condition of anonymity meanwhile confirmed that the ‘family dispute’ dated back to 2015.

She had travelled to Turkey with her family in 2017, but upon their return, she refused to join them, choosing instead to stay in Turkey where she resided since, the police source said.

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 also 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’. 

‘Until the Iraqi authorities adopt robust legislation to protect women and girls… we will inevitably continue to witness horrific murders,’ Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Aya Majzoub, said.

Police are now investigating him for murder but Iran’s penal code means he could escape jail by declaring the death an ‘honour killing’.

Under the code, judges are allowed to impose lenient sentences on people who kill for ‘honourable motives’ or under provocation.   

A March 2021 Home Office report on the code says: ‘Article 409 of the Iraqi Penal Code permits ‘honor’ as a mitigation for crimes of violence committed against family members and the Code allows for lenient punishments for ‘honor killings’ on the grounds of provocation or if the accused had ‘honorable motives’.

‘The law does not provide guidance as to what ‘honorable motives’ are and, therefore, leaves scope for wide interpretation.’

Original Article