Mohammad Sarafraz was born in 1961. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Beirut. His father is Abolfazl Sarafraz, a follower of Ayatollah Khomeini and the representative of the Supreme Leader at Iran Air, the national airliner.
- International Deputy Director of IRIB from 1993 to 2014
- CEO of Press TV from 2007 to 2014
- Member of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace from March 2012 until present
- Head of IRIB from 8 November 2014 until present
Human Rights Violations (in chronological order):
During his various tenures in high-ranking positions among state-owned media companies, Mohammad Sarafraz has been responsible for media programming decisions that have violated human rights.
Press TV had shown at least 18 confessions of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience during the years 2009 to 2013, when Sarafraz was CEO of the company. According to Justice for Iran’s research, these confessions were obtained under pressure, through harassment or torture. Press TV broadcast the confessions without the consent of the detainees.
With Sarafraz as CEO, Press TV showed forced confessions of detainees such as Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian correspondent of Newsweek magazine and the Channel 4 television station in Tehran, Kurdish political prisoners Loqman and Zanyar Moradi, and Arab political prisoners Ahmad Debat and Sajjad Beyt Abdollah.
Other confessions included those of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a woman prisoner sentenced to stoning, human rights attorney Houtan Kian, Kurdish political prisoner Jamal Qazaqi, and journalists Marziyeh Rasuli, Parasto Dokuhaki, and Saham Burqani.
Hadi Rashedi, a school principal in Ramshir town and the founder of an NGO focused on the development of Arabic language and culture, has also confessed on camera. The same is true of 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 aired interviews with the relatives of Ali Tshabishat, Sayyid Khalid Musavi, and Salman Tschayani. They spoke on camera to 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.
- EU Sanctions
On 15 November 2014, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB,) under the directorship of Mohammad Sarafraz, broadcast footage showing Sunni detainees Hamid Ahmadi, Kamal Molayi, Jahangir Dehqani, and Jamshid Dehqani announcing the accusations brought against them. At the same time, the four Sunni detainees were protesting against this programme and against the false accusations in a letter they had sent out of prison.
On 12th March 2013, the European Union published the names of 9 officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran, including Mohammad Sarafraz, whom the E.U. asserts are responsible for serious human rights violations and is thus subjecting to travel bans and asset freezes. The statement asserts that Sarafraz is sanctioned for working closely with the state security apparatus to broadcast detainees’ forced confessions.
Cut! Take Press TV off the Air
Press TV licence revoked
– 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