Friday Wrap-up: AbsazMedia case, jailed opposition party member, and EU-Azerbaijan gas deal

Nargiz Absalamova. Illustration: Meydan TV

This week saw more arrests connected to the AbsazMedia case, an opposition party member detained because of a Facebook post, and numbers of the Azerbaijani gas pipeline coming to Europe.

Journalist Nargiz Absalamova detained in connection to the AbsazMedia case

The Khatai District Court handed Nargiz Absalamova, an employee of AbzasMedia, a three-month preventive detention sentence following the initiation of a criminal case against Absalamova, the director Ulvi Hasanli, and editor-in-chief Sevinj Vagifqizi on smuggling charges.

Absalamova, previously questioned as a witness, now contests the criminal case against them, linking the arrest to their investigative journalistic activities.

The arrests of Hasanli, Vagifqizi, and Absalamova were accompanied by searches at their homes and the media office, where 40,000 euros were found Hasanli refuted the claim, alleging the money was planted. All three face charges under Article 206.3.2 of the Criminal Code but have denied any involvement in smuggling.

Opposition party member detained for drug charges

Drug charges have been brought against Elnur Hasanov, a member of the Narimanov district branch of the Azerbaijan People’s Front Party (APFP), who was detained two days ago.

In the information given to Meydan TV by the APFP, it is stated that Hasanov was detained on November 28 at noon when he entered the car spare parts store in Mashin Bazar located on Babek Avenue in the capital.

The Party believes that the arrest of Elnur Hasanov is related to his posts and critical opinions on social media. Shortly before he was arrested, the activist of the APFP had posted on his Facebook account criticizing the activities of the police, in particular the traffic police, and shared a photo of General Ramiz Zeynalov, head of the Chief State Traffic Police Department. It is assumed that he was punished for this.

Europe has received more than 30 billion cubic meters of gas from Azerbaijan in three years

The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) has successfully transported over 30 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas to Greece, Bulgaria, and Italy since December 2020, as reported by the TAP AG consortium. This pipeline, a part of the Southern Gas Corridor, carries gas from the Shah Deniz field in the Caspian Sea to Europe as part of its second developmental stage.

In 2022, Azerbaijan witnessed an 18% surge in gas exports, reaching 22.3 billion cubic meters, with European supplies accounting for 11.4 billion cubic meters, marking a 39% increase.

Plans for 2023 project gas exports from Azerbaijan to hit 24.5 billion cubic meters, with more than 12 billion cubic meters destined for Europe. Presently, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary stand as the EU buyers of Azerbaijani gas. A memorandum between Azerbaijan and the EU aims to double gas supplies to Europe in the next five years, reaching 20 billion cubic meters annually, as outlined in the energy sector cooperation agreement signed in July of the preceding year.

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