Editor's note: This article was published at 23/03/2016 on lexpress.fr. It showes a more balanced aproach then most articles posted on main stream media, which usaly just copy the articles from Romania which are totaly one sided and include much disinformation. Still, this article includes informaiton which is not correct, but atleast it attempts to present the arguments of both sides.
Paris – since the 70’s, during Ceausescu times, the Romanian yoga guru Gregorian Bivolaru, subject to a European arrest warrant and arrested in Paris, has accumulated adepts, books and legal troubles. Romania is demanding him, he claims “persecution”.
Originaly published 23/03/2016 on lexpress.fr
The affair is “complicated”, as stated by the president of the investigation chamber of the Paris Court of Appeal. In the box, there is a refugee and a fugitive. On Wednesday, Gregorian Bivolaru, haggard, white beard and thick glasses, once again refused to be handed over to Romania, where he was sentenced for sex with a minor.
For this new audience, a handful of supporters and no less than six lawyers are behind the master yogi, 64, conspiracy theorist and founder of MISA (Movement of Integral Spirituality into the Absolute), an organisation that encourages the practice of yoga, a sect according to its detractors. For years, Bivolaru, considered a public enemy in the eyes of the authorities in Bucharest, is at the heart of a legal saga that makes great fodder for the Romanian press.
"He did nothing wrong, he fought in life (...) what is a problem for the Romanian authorities is that there are thousands of followers who practice his spirituality" declared one of his defence lawyers, Ms Dominique Tricaud.
His lawyers believe that he cannot be handed over to Romania under the protection offered by his political refugee status obtained in Sweden in 2006. A French court will decide on this on May 11.
- "Most wanted" -
Meanwhile, he remains in custody because of "uncertainty" about his assurances of appearing, according to the court. He was arrested on February 26 when he came to visit a book and old papers fair, in the possession of false identity papers. "He regrets this but he knew that his life was in danger," justifies Ms Elodie Journeau, one of his other lawyers. "He became paranoid, he is wary of anything" justifies his other lawyer Ms Dominique Tricaud.
Today, the guru claims tens of thousands of students and supporters worldwide. A story that began in the 70s in the heart of the Ceausescu regime, told to the president of the court. At age 20, in 1972, Bivolaru founded the first yoga school in Romania. This is the beginning of "prosecutions, convictions and even internment in a psychiatric hospital" until 1989. At the end of the Communist regime, his MISA movement would however be free and grow, haloing his founder in "international recognition".
The affair is tougher at the turn of the 2000s. New prosecutions, telephone tapping, the homes of members are searched. He was charged in 2004 in Romania for sexual assault on a minor and child trafficking. He first attempted to flee to Hungary, a failure. His second attempt took him to Sweden in 2005. The country, however, refused to extradite him to Romania, considering that he was denied the right to a fair trial. Sweden offered him asylum and a new name: Magnus Aurolsson.
Acquitted twice, he was finally convicted in 2013 by a supreme court to six years in prison for sex with a minor, which he disputes. Affected by a European arrest warrant issued by Romania, he was enrolled in the Europol file of "most wanted".
When arrested in Paris, he had 11,000 euros in his pocket. "He loves books," noted the lawyer.
He himself wrote 125. The last, "Reflections on justice, a view from the inside", was written in recent weeks during his detention.