Saaed Karimian

29 April 2017

The founder and chairman of the Persian-language GEM TV company, and his business partner were shot dead in the Maslak neighbourhood in Istanbul by masked individuals who opened fire on their vehicle. The vehicle and the gun used in the assassination were later found burnt.

GEM TV is known for its entertainment satellite channels that dub foreign films and Western television programs into Farsi for Iranians. The TV has been criticised by Iran for “showing programmes that go against Islamic values” and has been accused of spreading Western culture. The TV is officially banned in Iran but is popular inside the country for movies and Turkish TV shows dubbed into Farsi.

In 2016, a Revolutionary Court in Tehran tried Karimian in absentia and sentenced him to six years in jail on charges of “acting against national security” and “propaganda against the state.” According to his relatives, Mr Karimian had been threatened by the Iranian regime and was planning to move to London over these threats.