First Name and Last Name:
Born in 1961. Received his doctoral degree in political sciences from the University of Beirut. His father is Abolfazl Sarafraz, a follower of Ayatollah Khomeini and the representative of the Supreme Leader in Iran Air, country’s national airline.
Titles and Positions Held:
From 8 November 2014 till present: the head of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB)
From 1993 to 2014: IRIB’s International Deputy Director
From March 2012 till present: member of the “Supreme Council of Cyber Space.”
From 2007 to 2014: the CEO of Press TV, a state English language channel
Witness Accounts of Alleged Violations and Crimes:
In his capacity of the head of IRIB, former head of IRIB World Service and former CEO of PRESS TV, Mohammad Sarafraz has been responsible for all programming decisions.
In the early days of Sarafraz as a new director, IRIB broadcast on 15 November 2014 a footage showing Sunni detainees Hamid Ahmadi, Kamal Molayi, Jahangir Dehqani and Jamshid Dehqani announcing the accusations brought up against them. At the same time, the four Sunni detainees were protesting against this programme and against the false accusations in a letter they sent out of prison.
Prior to this, IRIB has also broadcast forced confessions of detainees and a series of “show trials” in August 2009 and December 2011.
Press TV had shown at least 18 confessions of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience during the years 2009 to 2013. According to the research of Justice for Iran, these confessions were obtained under pressure, through harassment or torture. Press TV broadcast the confessions without the consent of the detainees.
With Sarafraz in charge, Press TV showed forced confessions of detainees like Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian correspondent of Newsweek magazine and Channel 4 television station in Tehran, Kurdish political prisoners Loqman and Zanyar Moradi, Arab political prisoners Ahmad Debat and Sajjad Beyt Abdollah. Other confessions included Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a woman prisoner sentenced to stoning, human rights attorney Houtan Kian, Kurdish political prisoner Jamal Qazaqi, journalists Marziyeh Rasuli, Parasto Dokuhaki and Saham Burqani. Hadi Rashedi, a school principal in Ramshir town and founder of an NGO focused on the development of Arabic language and culture has also confessed on camera, as well as Hashem Shabani, a high school teacher and founder of an NGO for the development of Arabic language and culture. Other confessions were forced from Arab political activist Taha Haydaryan, employee of the nuclear facility in Arak Samako Khalaqati, and Arab political prisoners Ali Tschabishat, Sayyid Khalid Musavi and Salman Tschayani.
Press TV has also shown the relatives of Ali Tshabishat, Sayyid Khalid Musavi and Salman Tschayani. They spoke on camera of Press TV in exchange for a promise to meet their loved ones. This footage was later broadcast without their consent.
The above mentioned cases constitute a clear violation of international provisions on the right to a fair trial and the right to due process. On 12th March 2013 Sarafraz was listed in EU targeted sanction as a human rights violator.
– Witness testimony of Maziar Bahari, was provided to Justice For Iran
– Witness testimonies of three Kurdish minority political prisoners, were provided to Justice For Iran
– Witness testimonies of the family member of the two Arab minority political prisoners, were provided to Justice For Iran