03 May 2017 Lvl. 1
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Alert created on: 03 May 2017 Turkey

Founder and Chairman of the Iranian GEM TV Company Shot Dead

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryImpunity for murder
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On 29 April 2017, Saaed Karimian, 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 Turkish police opened an investigation. 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.
11 Jun 2019
On 11 June 2019, the partner organisations of the platform decided to transfer this alert to the category of ‘impunity for murder’, based on their assessment of the lack of sufficient progress in the investigation of this case.
16 Oct 2018
On 11 October 2018, an Istanbul court released Zindaşti on the grounds that there was no sufficient material evidence to link him to the murder of Saeed Karimian. He remains however under judicial control, with an international travel ban.
08 Jun 2018
In April 2018, according to press reports, new elements emerged in the investigation of Naci Sharif Zindaşti, an Iranian drug smuggler who was captured with his 9 men in Istanbul and was questioned for his activities in various crime areas ranging from drug smuggling to murder. It was determined that Zindaşti was the instigator of the murder of Iranian-born British Saeed Karimian, owner of GEM TV.
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