In the morning of 18th of Mars, 2004, at 9 a.m., the Romanian police troops forced into the private homes of certain yoga practitioners in Bucharest, who are members of the non-profit yoga foundation called MISA (the Movement of Spiritual Integration into the Absolute), Romania. The police troops, with anti-terrorist equipment, entered without having permission, breaking open the doors or windows in order to enter the houses. In those homes that people were at home, the policemen ambushed them, put them to ground pointing the gun at those people’s head. They kept them like this for several hours, while the gendarmes loaded trucks with all the personal belongings they found in these houses – books, computers, stereo equipment – for which they did not have a confiscation warrant, vandalising the place.
All those yogis who were at home were treated brutally, as thou they were criminals, and taken in police vans to the prosecuting magistracy’s headquarters where they were interrogated for many hours. Some of these private persons tried to film the policemen’s action, but they were brutally stopped, being taken by force to police stations.
The yogis were not given the right to have an attorney, they were not told which are the accusations against them, and tens of them were submitted to inconceivable retaliations by the Romanian police. Although the policemen did not find absolutely anything incriminating, they made a huge circus out of everything, just for compromising the image of the yogis and the yoga foundation.
In the same manner did policemen take action against the yoga founder and yoga teacher Mr. Gregorian Bivolaru, who, when coming home, found the apartment emptied and vandalised by the gendarmes troops. It looked like a bunch of thieves devastated these homes, but it was actually the police force. Mr. Bivolaru’s vast private library, containing hundreds of rare books about spirituality were, of course, confiscated along with his personal belongings, without having the legal permission to do so.
All these facts are a brutal violation of human rights. Moreover, the police force informed the press that they were after a gang involved in narcotics and prostitution!!! These accusations are aberrant. The yogis went after these accusations and tested themselves for narcotics, and ALL THE TESTS WERE NEGATIVE, meaning they do not have a trace of narcotics in their blood.
In the first lessons in the yoga classes, the teachers speak about the importance of avoiding any form of substances that pollute the physical body, that including alcohol, coffee, chocolate, meat, tobacco, and of course drugs. And it is also emphasised over and over again the importance of love and spirituality.
This massive action that the police force took against the yogis, which are still according to legislation, private persons, is in the smallest detail an identical copy of the communist procedures the police used during the dictatorial regime of Ceausescu.
It is inconceivable that this country, which fought for its democracy and independence, which stood against a dictator, and that now hopes to be admitted in Europe, is still confronted with the same old communistic persecutions, violations of human rights, politics of intimidation and calumny that were everyday’s news during Ceausescu’s dictatorial regime.
And unfortunately this action was not singular. Last time, “someone” placed untraceable bombs in Mr. Bivolaru’s home and told the press that he was neglecting a gas cylinder that exploded. The military experts proved that it was not the gas cylinder that exploded, but there were 12 plastic bombs placed all over the apartment, especially in the bedroom and the library.
The only hope in this new case is that the truth will prevail, and that the human rights of these private persons, that “happen to be” yogis, will be protected by international authorities.
Here come the testimonies of those taken into custody illegally:
1. House search in Bucharest, 50 Calea Plevnei street
The undersigned Szanto Stefan Raul, resided in Bistrita, str. Imparatul Traian, bloc 53, scara E, ap. 68, state the following:
“On the 18th of Mars, at 9 a.m. the gendarme troops accompanied by a police inspector, break open into the house, without ringing the bell first. The gendarme troops, armed and wearing masks, rushed into all the rooms. All inhabitants that were present were ordered to shut down the mobile phones and they were not allowed to answer the house phone or make a phone call. The gendarmes took several of my personal belongings (CD-player, audio tapes, video tapes, books and my personal pocket book), which were not the object of the house search. At my request to make a list of the objects confiscated by the gendarmes, the police inspector Dumitras Ilie replied that he is not doing this, but if I want to, I can do it myself, but only with the videotapes, not with anything else. Because of these abusive measures and of the hooligan-like way of breaking open the house, I lost my trust in the Romanian justice. These are those whose work is to protect me, not to brutalise me and to violate my human rights.”
2. House search in 2 Vasile Grozavu street, sector 5
The undersigned Mirona Maria Farcasi, resided in Bucharest, str. Peleaga nr. 9, sector 5, ID serial RD nr. 290484, 23 years old, state the following:
“On the 18th of Mars, 2004, at 9 a.m., the gendarme troops broke open into the house, jumping over the fence, without ringing the bell. They broke the windows, beat the dog that was in the backyard, came in, put us down on the floor and kept us like this for at least 15 minutes under gun threatening. The gendarmes filmed all this. I asked why I am submitted to this brutal treatment, and the prosecutor Andreea Nica and the police inspector Ionut […], who did not identified themselves, told me that I have no rights in this action they are doing, so I should keep my mouth shut.
Afterwards, when I was taken into custody to the prosecuting magistracy, they told me that now I am a witness and I have to sign under a statement, written by them. The policemen forced us to sign under the house search official report and on the boxes containing our personal belongings, but they did not allow us to assist when they confiscated those objects, or when they placed them into the boxed we were forced to sing on. The objects the gendarmes and policemen took (books, documents, audio and videotapes, photographs) where not inventoried properly, object for object, thus being unable to identify them. All persons who entered the house (gendarmes, the cameraman and their assistant witnesses) took an active part in the house search, vandalising the place and not allowing us to witness it. As a result of this illegal house search, which was not conducted according to the legal procedures, many personal belongings disappeared from the house, and they are not registered in the official report.”
3. House search in 2 Vasile Grozavu street, sector 5
The undersigned Madalina Dumitru, resided in Constanta, in the village of Costinesti, with residence in Bucharest, str. Trompetului nr. 14, sector 5, ID serial KT nr.151797, 17 years old (minor), state the following:
“ On the 18th of Mars, 2004, at 9 a.m., the gendarme troops broke open into the house, jumping over the fence, without ringing the bell. They broke the windows, broke the doors and beat the dog that was in the backyard. One of the masked gendarmes hit me in the chest with his boot, while he kept me down on the floor by force, pointing a gun at my head. He kept me on the floor for about 15 minutes. A cameraman from gendarmerie filmed all this. The prosecutor Andreea Nica and the police inspector Ionut […] who did not showed us their legitimations, told us that we are in no position there. As a result of this house search, the policemen took 2 610 000 lei, 3 USD, the mobile phone, my electronic pocket book, a portable CD-player, books, my bankcard and my yoga student card, in spite of my protest against this action, telling them that these objects are my personal belongings and are not in the search warrant. Afterwards, when I was taken into custody by force and transported to prosecuting magistracy, the investigator prosecutor told me that I am in the position as a witness, without telling what I was a witness to. I was forced to sign under a counterfeit statement, without allowing me to contact an attorney or at least my parents. I was threatened that they will beat me and not let me go home if I do not sign under the statement they wrote.”
4. House search at 123 Turturica street, sector 5, Bucharest
The undersigned Helen Anca Dimitriu, resided in Tecuci, str. Elena Doamna, nr. 32, ID serial GL nr. 192415, state the following:
“At 9 a.m. on the 18th of Mars, a troop of masked gendarmes broke open the house without ringing the bell first, they climbed on the fence on broke the windows. After entering the yard, the gendarmes began to break even the doors and windows that were not locked, first at the bottom floor, and then at the other floors. All persons inside the building were taken out by force into the yard, without allowing them to put some clothes on or to touch anything else. The men were put with their hands behind the neck, under gun threatening, with the face toward the walls, and were not allowed to speak to each other. None of us was allowed to use the phone, or to contract the defence counsellor. When the defence counsellor (attorney Cristina Matu) arrived, she was not allowed to enter the premises, in spite of the fact that she had the legal authorisation to do so. It took her a lot of debating with the police force in order to be allowed to enter the premises. We were kept for two hours in the yard, in those clothes the police found us when they broke in (pyjamas, negligée), freezing and not allowed to put some clothes on. Then the police put all of us in one little room. All these were filmed by the police’s cameraman. The gendarmes that broke into the house rummaged all the rooms, then the prosecutor, the assistant witnesses and some civilians came also in and “helped” turning everything up-side-down. I emphasise that no one identified himself/herself and no one showed us a house search warrant. No one told us why we are held captives, the gendarmes shout at me telling to shut up, pointing a gun at my head. Around 12 a.m. they allowed me to dress, then the police took us into custody by force, put into the police vans, without telling us why we are confined or where they take us. Me, along other persons, was taken by force to a building that we found out later it was the prosecuting magistracy, where I was submitted to a long interrogatory with aggressive and offensive questions about my personal life. I was forced then to sign under a statement dictated by a prosecutor whose name I do not know. Only after signing under this counterfeit statement I was allowed to go home”