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April 4th 2004 - A European ‘Falun Gong’ scandal: Yoga in Romania

 

  • The Romanian Government has brutally attacked a Yoga school.
  • A Crown witness has been abducted by police.
  • There have been large scale random beatings, unlawful arrests, theft and violence against lawyers.
  • The Romanian Ambassador in Belgium will be formally questioned by MEP.
  • Formal Demonstrations are planned for Bucharest Monday 5 April and Copenhagen Wednesday 7 April.
  • Constant vigils at being held at other European Romanian Embassies Amnesty Internattional are continuing to investigate the case.

THE BACKGROUND

Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase has just
approved the largest illegal police action since the
1989 democratic revolution. Their target: a Yoga
school, MISA, established 15 years ago with over
30,000 students within Romania and throughout Europe
and the world. This systematic prosecution of an
educational institution which seeks nothing more than
to promote greater health and harmony is an outrageous
abuse of human rights.
Romania still holds the dubious honour of being the
only country in the world to have banned the 5,000
year old practice of yoga, under the evil regime of
Ceaucescu in 1982.

Unfortunately, despite official efforts to promote
Romania as a modern democratic and free country, not
much has changed since the Communist era. Romania has
just joined the 'big league' of NATO and seeks to
enter the EU in 2007, yet its actions show it is an
oppressive totalitarian state with little regard for
basic human rights.

Since March 18 2004, the Romanian Government have
conducted a campaign of terror against MISA. There
have been Stalin-like raids in over 20 homes and
institutions, violent and abusive forced confessions,
and large scale unlawful confiscation of documents,
books, computers and other valuables. Numerous
foreigners and Romanians have documented this gross
injustice and call on the global community to place
pressure on Romania to act in accordance with the
United Nations declaration of Human Rights, including
the Right of Assembly and of Belief.

The Government alleges that this unprecendented
brutality is due to a whole range of criminal
activity, including suspected tax evasion,
pornography, organized crime, and drug trafficking;
yet they have not been able to produce one
substantiated piece of evidence. Indeed, the official
leading the investigation, Mr Ilie Botos, is a
convicted criminal having been found guilty of illegal
wiretapping.

The teacher of the Yoga School, Mr. Gregorian
Bivolaru, was illegaly imprisoned without trial
between 18 March-1 April and in a peaceful protest
which has been the hallmark of the yoga school,
maintained a hunger strike during this period. On the
day of his release he consented on live TV to answer
allegations of carnal knowledge with minor, Ms.
Madalina Dumitru. This Crown witness was previously
forced to make a false statement against Bivolaru,
sought to retract it on 1 April, and has now
mysteriously disappeared, after being taken away by
Government authorities on that day. 

Hundreds of yoga students are still awaiting the
return of their property that was illegally
confiscated, and live in fear of further police
harrassment.

On April 6th Mr Ulla Sandbæk from the Danish June
Movement is meeting with Romanian Ambassador Mr
Virgilie Constantinescu in Brussells, demanding an
explantion for this travesty of justice.

Please voice your concern to:

Mr Ilie Botos, General Prosecutor for Romania        
   +40 21 410 19 04
Mr Adrian Nastase,
Romanian Prime Minister
   +40 21 314 34 00/ +40 21 230 36 60


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