Gunmen kill Iranian TV mogul Saeed Karimian in Istanbul

Saeed Karimian founded the GEM TV group in London in 2006

The founder and chairman of the Persian-language Gem TV Company has been killed in Istanbul.

Saeed Karimian, 45, was shot dead in the Maslak neighbourhood, along with his Kuwaiti business partner.

The vehicle used in the apparent assassination was later found burnt out. Turkish police are investigating.

Mr. Karimian had previously been tried in absentia by a Tehran court and sentenced to six years in prison for spreading propaganda against Iran.

It is understood he died immediately after the gunmen – who were reportedly masked – opened fire on the vehicle on Saturday evening, while his business partner died later in hospital.

Gem TV which dubs foreign and Western shows into Persian and broadcasts them into Iran has been criticized by Iran for showing programmes which go against Islamic values and has been accused of spreading Western culture.

Family members told reporters that Mr. Karimian had been threatened by the regime in the past three months, and as a result was planning to leave Istanbul and move back to London.

However, sources within the Turkish government have suggested the killing may be related to business and gangs, reporters say.

Gem Group was initially established in London, but later expanded to Dubai. According to the group’s website, it has 17 Persian-language channels, plus one each in Kurdish, Azeri and Arabic.

 

Zainab Sa’id