ISTANBUL, April 30 The head of an Iranian
satellite television network channel who last year was sentenced
in absentia to six years in prison by a Tehran court was shot
dead in Istanbul together with a business partner, Turkey's
Dogan news agency said on Sunday.
GEM TV founder Saeed Karimian and another Iranian were
driving in Istanbul's Maslak neighbourhood after 8 p.m. (1700
GMT) on Saturday when their car was stopped by a jeep and shots
were fired, Dogan said.
Karimian was found dead by emergency services arriving at
the scene, Dogan said. His associate was taken to hospital but
could not be revived.
It was not clear if there were multiple shooters. The jeep
was later found abandoned and burned. Istanbul police declined
to comment on the shooting when contacted by Reuters.
Dogan quoted the mayor of Istanbul's Sariyer district as
saying initial police findings suggested the shooting may have
prompted by a financial disagreement involving Karimian.
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, where the government tries to instil Islamic
values by strictly regulating popular culture, 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
(Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Additional reporting by Bozorgmehr
Sharafedin; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Ros Russell)