HRWF calls European Commission to check upon the legality of Gregorian Bivolaru's conviction by Romanian Court

On 17 June 2013, the renowned NGO Human Rights Without Frontiers addresses the questionable conviction of Gregorian Bivolaru, the founder of the largest spiritual movement in Romania, in its newsletter. Please see below:


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Six years in prison for Gregorian Bivolaru, the founder of the largest yoga movement in Romania

Human Rights Without Frontiers

which monitored the work of the Supreme Court in Bucharest in May calls upon the European Commission to check the legality of this controversial trial and publish its opinion in the next reporton Romania's progress under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism. 

On two occasions in the last 12 months, the European Commission already expressed its concerns about the lack of respect for the independence of the judiciary.

HRWF (17.06.2013) - After nine years of controversial legal proceedings, Gregorian Bivolaru, famous political dissident imprisoned three times under Ceausescu regime and founder of the largest yoga movement in Romania, was sentenced on 14 June 2013 by the Romanian Supreme Court to six years in prison. He was convicted for sexual relations with a minor.

The charge was formulated in result of an unprecedented police attack on 18 March 2004 when 300 masked and heavily armed policemen raided 16 private homes of yoga practitioners.

The concerned minor (17 years ½) was then interrogated for 13 hours and forced to write a statement that was misused as a complaint. Despite the fact that with the help of a lawyer she retracted her statement the next morning, the case was channelled through irreversible judicial proceedings.

Her request was denied and she was dragged through courts for nine years, instrumentalized as a victim in the trial against Bivolaru, with whom she continuously denied having sexual relations.

In the last trial session on 14 June 2013 she tried once again to step out of the case by filing one more affidavit stating she never had sexual relations to Bivolaru, was never seduced or trafficked by him and that she does not have any complaints against him. The judge harshly refused the declaration.

Bivolaru declared not-guilty in 2010 and 2011

On 23rd April 2010, after numerous judicial proceedings, the president of the panel of judges of Sibiu Tribunal (Criminal Department), Daniela Czika, pronounced a not guilty decision for Gregorian Bivolaru on all the charges brought against him: sexual intercourse with a minor, human trafficking and exploitation. The Prosecutor's Office appealed the decision but on 14th March 2011, the Court of Appeal of Alba Iulia rejected "as ungrounded the appeal formulated by the Prosecutor's Office attached to the Sibiu Tribunal against criminal sentence no. 86 of 04.23.2010 given by Sibiu tribunal - Criminal Section, in file no. 405/85/2005".


The High Court for Cassation and Justice orders a re-trial in 2012


On 12th April 2012, the High Court for Cassation and Justice dismissed the decision of the Sibiu Tribunal and the Alba Iulia Court and ordered a retrial on the merits of the trial of judges Ionut Matei, Ioana Bogdan and Cristina Rotaru. Nine years after the raid, the case is still on-going.


On 9th May 2013, the Supreme Court in Bucharest held a new hearing in the lawsuit against Gregorian Bivolaru who got the status of political asylum in Sweden in 2005. The lawyers of Bivolaru then repeated their urgent request that their client be heard by a Romanian rogatory commission in Sweden where the Supreme Court in Stockholm had refused to extradite him and had granted him political asylum. HRWF Int'l was present at that hearing which was officially announced as dealing with the charge of trafficking and not sexual intercourse with a minor.

Five weeks later, the Supreme Court failed to wait for the green light of Stockholm, accusing the Swedish authorities of "superficiality and lack of seriousness" and hurriedly came to a final decision: 6 years in prison.

The judiciary in Romania under surveillance of the European Commission

In July 2012, the European Commission published its regular report on Romania's progress under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism. At that time important questions were raised about the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Romania. The EU's executive commission said it was particularly concerned by "manipulations which affect institutions and members of the judiciary and have a serious impact on society as a whole."

The Commission then made a number of recommendations to Romania and also indicated that it would make a report on how its recommendations had been followed up six months later.

In the follow up report adopted on 30th January 2013, the Commission found that Romania had implemented several but not all of its recommendations.

The Commission stressed again that the lack of respect for the independence of the judiciary and the instability faced by judicial institutions remain a source of concern.

The next report is in preparation.

HRWF Int'l

will soon publish the report of its fact-finding mission to Romania from 8 to 16 May 2013. Those interested in this report can contact HRWF Int'l by sending an email to





Some activities in 2013

Co-organizing with MEP Anna Rosbach a conference on "Human rights in North Korea" at the European Parliament (6 June 2013)  
Interview and report about human rights in North Korea on ZDF TV Channel (Germany)(6 June 2013) 
Panellist at the debate after screening of the film "Free China" at the Millenium Film Festival in Brussels