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Reactions and protests >>> Letters and Memorandums >>> April 4th 2004 - A European 'Falun Gong' scandal: Yoga in Romania


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 Sandbaek 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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