European Interreligious Forum For Religious Freedom

Romanian court completely acquits the 21 people from MISA yoga school accused of human trafficking


Written the Friday, February 20th 2015 à 12:33
Soteria International





After more than 10 years, the Romanian court completely acquitted the 21 people from MISA yoga school, accused of human trafficking.  For ten years, the media has continued a witch hunt on MISA yoga school, who is now fully acquitted of all accusations. The decision found much of the evidence put forth by the prosecution to be unfounded or illegal. Again we face a large scale fake-trial against a spiritual movement, with grave violations of the fundamental rights of thousands of yoga practitioners.

The trial was part of the internationally questioned Romanian campaign against the MISA yoga school. The campaign started in 2004 with the largest police action in post-communist Romanian history. Under the pretext of national security, 300 armed gendarmes raided 16 private houses belonging to yogis. The yoga school was accused of paramilitary activity and the attack was conducted under the code name „Operation Christ”. The raid was filmed and leaked to the media the same day. The images and reports triggered international criticism among European politicians and human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and The Romanian Helsinki Commission APADOR-CH. The Danish Member of European Parliament at that time, Mrs Ulla Sandbaek, advised the leader of the yoga school to immediately flee the persecutions and ask for asylum in Sweden. The Swedish Supreme Court found him innocent and gave him asylum, being persecuted due to his religious beliefs.

For a decade the persecutions continued in Romania against Mr Bivolaru and his students, with long trials based on false accusations, media and social stigmatization of tens of thousands of yogis. Finally the accusations have now been dropped and Romania must aim to heal the wounds caused by the on-going marginalization of a major religious minority. 

The political scientist, human rights activist and founder of APADOR-CH Mr Gabriel Andreescu has written two books on the on-going persecution of the Romanian yoga school. He states that there will not be any human rights in Romania until the persecution is stopped, and that the victims must be compensated.

Most of the trials initiated in the persecutions of 2004 have ended in full acquittal. So far no compensation has been discussed. Unfortunately the trial against Mr Bivolaru took a much critiqued turn as he, after being acquitted in first and second instance, was convicted to six years imprisonment in absentia. As Romania is today part of the European Union and Mr Bivolaru received asylum in Sweden because of precisely these persecutions, the conviction followed by a European Arrest Warrant has triggered a unique and highly disturbing situation, where a refugee is both protected and persecuted within for the same accusations within one and the same judicial system. 

It is not unusual for spiritual schools to be falsely accused of human trafficking. At the OSCE HDIM 2014 Soteria International highlighted this problem both in Germany (Deutche Academie fur Traditionelles Yoga) and Italy (Ananda Assisi).  Ananda Assisi is a Yoga organization which over 2002 - 2009 was the subject of such a judicial inquiry, facing accusations of being a sect which “enslaved” people by forcing them to work without being paid, and other accusations including the premise that Ananda was a “pseudo-religion”. People were harassed and came under social pressure, were taken to court and eventually imprisoned. After more years of investigation, the judge dismissed the case. Also here the European Union face a major question mark: why do these false accusations continue to surface regarding minor religious or spiritual movements, such as the Romanian yoga school MISA.

The Acquittal of MISA yoga school in the court trial from Cluj is available on this link: http://portal.just.ro/117/SitePages/Dosar.aspx?id_dosar=11700000000035595&id_inst=117

Here is the English translation:


(translation from Romanian into English)
ROMANIA
CLUJ COURT
CRIMINAL SECTION
CASE FILE NO. 22351/3/2007
 
 
 
COPY OF MINUTES OF CRIMINAL SENTENCE NO. 62/11.02.2015.
 
 
 
I. Under art. 396 pt. 5 NCCP (New Code of Criminal Procedure) in relation to art. 16 par. 1 let. b NCCP, it rules to acquit the defendant BIVOLARU GREGORIAN, son of Constantin and Floarea, born on 13.03.1952 in commune Tartasesti, Ilfov county, residing in Bucharest str. Sergent Turturica nr. 4 bl. 70 B, ap. 2 sector 5, with residence in Bucharest str. Sg. Musat Constantin nr. 1 bl. 16 ap. 3 sector 5, on the charges of committing the act of:
- establishing a fascist organization as stipulated by art. 3 par. 1 in conjunction with art. 2 let. a of G.E.O. (Government Emergency Ordinance) no. 31/2002, considering that the act was not stipulated by criminal law.
- promoting racist, fascist or xenophobic ideology as stipulated by art. 5 thesis II of G.E.O. no. 31/2002, considering that the act was not stipulated by criminal law.
 
II. Under art. 396 pt. 5 NCCP in relation to art. 16 pt. 1 let. b NCCP and art. 4 NCCP, it rules to acquit the defendant BIVOLARU GREGORIAN on the charge of committing the act of illegal crossing of a foreign state border, considering that art. 1 par. 1 of G.E.O. 112/2001, given that the article that sanctioned the act of illegal crossing of a foreign state border was abrogated by art. 98 of title II of the Law 187/2012.
 
III. Under art. 5 and art. 155 par. 4 NPC (New Penal Code), art. 396 pt. 6 in relation to art. 16 pt. 1 let. f NCCP it rules to terminate criminal procedures against the defendant BIVOLARU GREGORIAN, finding the prescription of criminal liability regarding offenses of:
- initiation and establishment of an organized criminal group under art. 367 par. 1 thesis I of the new Penal Code (previous regulation – art. 7 par. 1 thesis I in conjunction with art. 2 let. a and b pt. 12 of the Law no. 39/2003);

- incitement to discrimination under art. 369 of the new Penal Code (previous regulation – art. 317 of the previous Penal Code);
- promoting racist, fascist or xenophobic ideology under art. 5 thesis II of G.E.O. 31/2002,
- illegal crossing of state border under art. 262 of the new Penal Code (previous regulationart. 70 par. 1 of G.E.O. 105/2001);
- instigating to outrage against morals and disturbing public peace under art. 375 in relation to art. 47 of the new Penal Code (previous regulation – art. 321 par. 1 of the previous Penal Code).
 
III. Under art. 396 pt. 5 in relation to art. 16 pt. 1 let. a NCCP, it rules to acquit the defendant BIVOLARU GREGORIAN on the charge of committing the offence of human trafficking under art. 12 par. 1 and par. 2 let. a in conjunction with art. 2 pt. 2 let. b of the Law no. 678/2001, amended with the enforcement of art. 41 par. 2 P.c. (new regulation – art. 210 par. 1 let. a NPC).
 
IV. Under art. 102 par. 2 and 4 NCCP it finds the illegality of:
 
- evidence obtained through wiretaps and audio recording and it rules the exclusion of means of evidence consisting of the minutes of conversation recordings of defendant BIVOLARU GREGORIAN.
- the reports prepared during searches conducted on 18.03.2004, 19.03.2004, 21.03.2004, 22.03.2004 and 23.03.2004 and it rules the exclusion of evidence of all facts found and objects seized and recorded in the illegal search reports.
- evidence consisting in technical-scientific reports of vol. 35-42 of C.P.F. 6D/P/2004, finding reports prepared by the Romanian Psychologists Association, chief Commissioner psychologist Petrescu Luminita, psychologist Tudorel Butoi as well as of the Studies prepared by Mario Sorin Vasilescu and priest Sterea Tache.
 
V. It rejects all civil actions as unfounded.
 
VI. Under art. 399 pt. 1 NCCP, it rules to revoke the preventive detention measure ruled by the preventive arrest warrant no. 171/U of 15.04.2005 issued by the 1st Criminal Section of Bucharest Court in the File no. 2399/2005 through which the defendant Bivolaru Gregorian was taken into preventive custody under the charge of committing offenses under art. 12 par. 1 and 2 in conjunction with art. 2 pt. 2 let. b of the Law no. 678/2001 and art. 7 par. 1 of the Law no. 39/2003.
 
VII. Under art. 397 and art. 404 par. 4 let. c NCCP, it rules:

- to abrogate the protective measure of seizure of buildings from Bucharest, sector 5, str. Sergent Turturica, nr. 123 and Bucharest, Str. Sg. Musat Constantin nr. 1, bl. 16, sc. A, ap. 3 ruled by Ordinance no. 6D/P/2004 of 23.05.2005,
- to return all assets seized during the residence search of 18.03.2004 at the building from Bucharest, Str. Sg. Musat Constantin nr. 1, bl. 16, sc. A, ap. 3 and mentioned in the search report attached to the case file on pages 584-588, vol. 4 of the criminal prosecution file.
 
 
 
VIII. Under art. 396 pt. 5 in relation to art. 16 pt. 1 let. a NCCP, it rules to acquit the defendants: CATRINA NICOLAE, son of Vasile and Eugenia, born on 13.01.1961 in Hunedoara, residing in Bucharest str. Peleaga nr. 5, sector 5,
BURUIANA OVIDIU EUSEBIO, son of Victor and Ileana, born on 14.10.1972 in Tecuci municipality, residing in Bucharest str. Cetatea de Balta nr. 26 bl. P10, ap. 72, sector 6; NECULA MARIUS, son of Iordache and Constanta, born on 28.07.1970 in Ploiesti municipality, Prahova county, residing in Bucharest, bd. Tineretului nr. 41, bl. 52, ap. 3, sector 4; ROSU PETRU, son of Ion and Maranda, born on 29.06.1961 in Parava commune, residing in Bucharest str. Academiei nr. 39-41, sc. 2, ap. 34, sector 1; ROSU CAMELIA, daughter of Eugen and Eleonora, born on 28.11.1961 in Bacau, residing in Bucharest bl. 1 Decembrie 1918 nr. 35, bl. 44, ap. 208, sector 3; BOZARU DAN, son of Gheorghe and Maria, born on 05.05.1961 in Dragasani, Valcea county, residing in Iasi, str. PIata Unirii bl. 2, ap. 32 Iasi county; VISAN TEODORA CAMELIA, daughter of Toader and Maria Titina, born on 19.10.1967 in Panciu, Vrancea county, residing in Bucharest str. PEtre Ispirescu nr. 9 bl. 40, ap. 22, sector 5; TANTAS MIHAELA, daughter of Mihai and Maria, born on 21.11.1974 in Constanta municipality, Constanta county, residing in Bucharest str. Profesor Nicoara Moiser nr. 41 bl. D3, ap. 84 sector 3; LOMOS DUMITRU REMUS, son of Dumitru and Aurica, born on 13.11.1972 in Botosani numicipality, Botosani county, residing in Bucharest str. Peleaga nr. 6 sector 5; MIHAILESCU DIANA SILVIA, daughter of Constantin and Danuta, born on 02.02.1972 in Ramnicu Valcea, Valcea county, residing in Bucharest Soseaua Pantelimon nr. 258 bl. 47, ap. 59, sector 2; HANGAN LIANA MARIA, daughter of Alexandru and Ileana, born on 27.07.1969 in Prundu Bargaului commune, Bistrita Nasaud county, residing in Bucharest bd. Porf. Dimitrie Pompeiu nr. 3-5, ap. 318 sector 5; COJOCARU COSTICA, son of Neculai and Paraschiva, born on 16.10.1968 in Braila, residing in Buzau, bd. Unirii bl. 3 ap. 21, Buzau county; LAZAR MARIA CIPRIANA, daughter of Vasile and Teodora, born on 11.08.1969 in Roman municipality, Neamt county, residing in Bucharest str. Veseliei nr. 49B, sector 5; RADU IULIANA, daughter of Mihail and Elena, born on 12.08.1968 in Pascani municipality, Iasi county, residing in Bucharest, str. Sergent Turturica nr. 125 sector 5; STROE

CRISTINA, daughter of Valentin and Ana, born on 25.12.1970 in Bucharest, residing in Bucharest str. Spatarului nr. 35, sector 2; TIPLEA GRIGORE, son of Grigore and Viorica, born on 17.05.1968 in Gherla municipality, Cluj county, residing in Bucharest bd. Ferdinand I nr. 44, ap. 12, sector 2; NEGICI MIHAI ROBERT, son of Pavel and Elena, born on 12.02.1975 in Tecuci municipality, Galati county, residing in Bucharest, str. Sergent Turturica nr. 133, sector 5; BOZDOC ALEXANDRU CRISTIAN, son of Dumitru and Elena, born on 11.04.1972 in Sibiu municipality, residing in Sibiu, str. Steflesti nr. 2, ap. 15; VISTERNEANU LACRAMIOARA, daughter of Stelian and Elena, born on 01.10.1968 in Niculitel, Tulcea county, residing in Bucharest str. Trompetului nr. 14, sector 5 and DOCHINOIU DIANA, daughter of Vasile and Maria Elena, born on 20.06.1958 in Bacau municipality, Bacau county, residing in Bucharest str. Sg. Turturica nr. 125, sector 5
on the charge of committing the crime of human trafficking under art. 12 par. 1 and par. 2, let. a in conjunction with art. 2 pt. 2 let. b of the Law no. 678/2001, amended with the enforcement of art. 41 par. 2 P.c. (new regulation – art. 210 par. 1 let. a NPC).
 
IX. Under art. 396 pt. 6 NCCP in relation with art. 16 pt. 1 let. f NCCP, it rules to terminate criminal proceedings against the defendant LOMOS DUMITRU REMUS following his death on 04.11.2014.
 
X. Under art. 396 pt. 5 in relation with art. 16 par. 1 let. b NCCP, art. 3 NPC, rules to acquit the defendants:
- ROSU CAMELIA, ROSU PETRU and BURUIANA OVIDIU EUSEBIO, on the charge of committing the crime of establishing a fascist organization under art. 3 par. 1 in conjunction with art. 2 let. a of G.E.O. no. 31/2002, given that the act was not incriminated at the time it was perpetrated – ROSU CAMELIA, ROSU PETRU and BURUIANA OVIDIU EUSEBIO on the charge of committing the crime of promoting a fascist, racial or xenophobe ideology under art. 5 thesis II of G.E.O. 31/2002, given that the act was not incriminated at the time when it was committed.
- ROSU CAMELIA and ROSU PETRU on the charge of committing the act of distribution or sale of fascist symbols under art. 4 par. 1 thesis I of G.E.O. 31/2002, given that the act was not incriminated at the time when it was committed.
- BURUIANA OVIDIU EUSEBIO on the charge of committing the crime of denial of the Holocaust under art.6 of G.E.O. 31/2002, given that the act was not incriminated at the time when it was committed.

XI. Under art. 5 and art. 155 par. 4 NPC, art. 396 pt. 6 in relation with art. 16 pt. 1 let. f NCCP, it rules to terminate criminal proceedings, finding the prescription of criminal liability of the defendants on the charge of:
- the offence of initiation or constitution of an organized crime group under art. 367 par. 1 thesis I of the new Penal code (old regulation – art. 7 par. 1 thesis I in conjunction with art. 2 let. a and b pt. 12 of the Law no. 39/2003) regarding defendants ROSU CAMELIA, CATRINA NICOLAE, VISTERNEANU LACRAMIOARA and ROSU PETRU.
- the offense of adhesion or support of an organized crime group under art. 367 par. 1 thesis II of the new Penal code (old regulation – art. 7 par. 1 thesis I in conjunction with art. 2 let. a and b pt. 12 of the Law no. 39/2003) regarding the defendants NECULA MARIUS, VISAN TEODORA CAMELIA, TANTAS MIHAELA, COJOCARU COSTICA, LAZAR MARIANA CIPRIANA, RADU IULIANA, BOZARU DAN, STROE CRISTINA, TIPLEA GRIGORE, MIHAILESCU DIANA SILVIA, NEGICI MIHAI ROBERT, BOZDOC ALEXANDRU CRISTIAN, DOCHINOIU DIANA, BURUIANA OVIDIU EUSEBIO.
- the offence of inciting to discrimination under art. 369 of the new Penal code (old regulation – art. 317 of the old Penal code) regarding the defendants BURUIANA OVIDIU EUSEBIO, ROSU PETRU and ROSU CAMELIA.
- the offense of outrage against moral and disturbing public peace under art. 375 of the new Penal code (old regulation – art. 321 par. 1 of the old Penal code) regarding the defendants MIHAILESCU DIANA, BURUIANA OVIDIU EUSEBIO, DOCHINOIU DIANA, LAZAR MARIANA CIPRIANA and TIPLEA GRIGORE.
- the offence of distribution without the authorization or consent of the owner of rights of a work under art. 140 let. b of the Law no. 8/1996 (old regulationart. 140 let. a of the Law no. 8/1996) regarding the defendants CATRINA NICOLAE and LAZAR MARIANA CIPRIANA, and under art. 25 NCCP it left the civil lawsuit unsolved.
- the offense of reproduction without copyright of a work under art. 140 let. a of the Law no. 8/1996 (old regulationart. 142 let. a of the Law no. 8/1996) regarding the defendants CATRINA NICOLAE and LAZAR MARIANA CIPRIANA, and under art. 25 NCCP it left the civil lawsuit unsolved.
 
XII. Under art. 102 par. 2 and 4 of the NCCP, it finds the illegality of:
 
 - evidence obtained through wiretaps and audio recording and it rules the exclusion of means of evidence consisting of the minutes of conversation

recordings of defendant Dochinoiu Diana and the communications of SC EXTAZ SRL.
- the reports prepared during searches conducted on 18.03.2004, 19.03.2004, 21.03.2004, 22.03.2004 and 23.03.2004 and it rules the exclusion of evidence of all facts found and objects seized and recorded in the illegal search reports.
- evidence consisting in technical-scientific reports of vol. 35-42 of C.P.F. 6D/P/2004, finding reports prepared by the Romanian Psychologists Association, chief Commissioner psychologist Petrescu Luminita, psychologist Tudorel Butoi as well as of the Studies prepared by Mario Sorin Vasilescu and priest Sterea Tache.
 
XIII. It rejects all civil actions as unfounded.
 
XIV. Under art. 397 and art. 404 par. 4 let. c C.c.p., following the ruling of acquittal regarding defendants Necula Marius, Visan Teodora Camelia, Tantas Mihaela, Cojocaru Costica, Lazar Mariana Cipriana, Radu Iuliana, Rosu Camelia, Bozaru Dan, Stroe Cristina, Tiplea Grigore, Catrina Nicolae, Mihailescu Diana Silvia, Negaci Mihai Robert, Bozdoc Alexandru Cristian, Visterneanu Lacramioara, Dochinoiu Diana, Rosu Petru, Buruiana Ovidiu Eusebio for committing the offense of human trafficking and termination of criminal proceedings against them for committing the offenses of initiation or constitution of an organized crime group and adhesion to or support of an organized crime group, it rules to revoke the protective measure of seizure of immovable property of defendants ordered by Ordinance no. 6D/P/2004 of 23.05.2005 (page 122, Vol. 75 C.P.F.), of auto movable property ordered by Ordinance no. 6D/P/2004 of 23.05.2005 (page 251-256, vol. 75), of movable property money and jewels ordered by Ordinance no. 6D/P/2004 of 04.03.2005 (page 70-73, vol. 75)
 
XV. Under art. 272 NCCP, appointed lawyers' fees are borne by the MJF (Ministry of Justice Fund) as it follows:
- for the defendant Popescu Liana Maria (former Hangan) – the amount of 150 lei, for lawyer Purcarin Paul;
- for injured parties Dumitru Ionela, Danut Doina and Albu Garofita – the amount of 450 lei, for lawyer Ploscar Loredana;
- for injured parties Lupescu Ion, Lupescu Simion and Gaitan Constantin, the amount of 450 lei, for lawyer Milchis Ovidiu;
- for injured parties Andrei Mihaela, Valean Alina and Bertescu Valeria, the amount of 450 lei, for lawyer Dumbraveanu Diana;

- for injured parties Muresan Diana and Marques (former Muresan) Agness Arabella, the amount of 300 lei, for lawyer Maxim Anca.
 
XVI. Under art. 275 par. 3 NCCP, legal costs remain the responsibility of the state.
 
With right to appeal within 10 days from ruling.
Ruled in public session of 11.02.2015.
 
 
 
PRESIDENT
Illegible signature
 
 
FOR CONFORMITY
DIANA CALUGAR
- REGISTRAR –
(illegible signature)
(embossed stamp)
 
 
 
(end of translation)
 


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