Iranian TV network head "shot dead" in Turkey

Dubai-based GEM TV founder Saeed Karimian and an associate were driving in Istanbul's Maslak neighbourhood on Saturday evening when their car was blocked by a jeep and shots were fired, local media reports.

Photo by: Facebook/Saeed.Karimian
Photo by: Facebook/Saeed.Karimian

GEM TV confirmed that Karimian had died but without making clear the circumstances of the death.

The head of an Iranian satellite television network was shot dead in Istanbul together with a business partner, local media said on Sunday.

GEM TV founder Saeed Karimian and an associate were driving in Istanbul's Maslak neighbourhood on Saturday evening when their car was blocked by a jeep and shots were fired.

Karimian was found dead by emergency services arriving at the scene while his associate was taken to hospital but could not be revived.

Some reports identified both victims as being of Iranian origin while others identified Karimian as a British national and his associate as a Kuwaiti.

Financial disagreement? 

In a statement on its Facebook page, Dubai-based GEM TV confirmed that Karimian had died but without making clear the circumstances of the death.

With great sorrow and regret we announce the death of Said Karimian. [He was] a great man who with a pure and kind spirit spent his life with honesty and sincerity for dignity of Iran — GEM TV

Kuwait's state-run KUNA news agency quoted the Kuwaiti consul general in Istanbul as saying that a Kuwaiti citizen was shot and killed in Istanbul late on Saturday.

Turkish police has not commented on the incident. 

Local media quoted the mayor of Istanbul's Sariyer district as saying that the initial police findings suggested the shooting may have been prompted by a financial disagreement involving Karimian.

Tried in absentia

GEM TV is known for entertainment satellite channels that dub foreign films and Western television programmes into Farsi for Iranians. It also produces movies and TV series.

But in Iran the satellite broadcaster's programming has angered authorities, who view it as part of a cultural "soft war" waged by the West.

Last year 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." 

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies