Gregorian Bivolaru și alte 13 persoane, în fața judecătorilor francezi pentru acuzații de o gravitate însemnată
Gregorian Bivolaru, the guru of an international yoga movement accused of being a sect that organizes sexual violence, will finish his period of pre-trial detention on Friday. He and 14 other individuals will be presented in front of the examining judges in Paris, in order to officially be charged, according to AFP.
The Paris Prosecutor’s Office has launched a judicial investigation for several crimes, including organized kidnapping, punishable by up to 30 years in prison, rape, and human trafficking committed by an organized gang, as well as the exploitation of vulnerable individuals by sect members.
A judicial source stated that out of the 41 individuals arrested on Tuesday, 15 of them will appear before the examining judge on Friday. The central figure of the sect is Gregorian Bivolaru. He is 71 years old, has Romanian and Swedish citizenship, and has an unkempt appearance, wearing large glasses. He is the founder of the Movement for Spiritual Integration into the Absolute (MISA), later renamed Atman when it expanded outside of Romania. The movement presents itself as focused on the practice of tantra yoga but is accused of concealing a sect that practices widespread sexual violence.
Alongside Gregorian Bivolaru, who is well-known in Romania and founded the country’s first yoga school in 1970 during the communist era, other individuals suspected of being „important leaders” of the sect were also arrested. The sect reportedly has several hundred followers in France, according to a source close to the investigation, as reported by AFP.
Simultaneously with the arrests, 26 women were „rescued from the sect,” where they were „hosted in cramped and deplorable hygiene conditions,” emphasized the judicial source. In general, „numerous women of different nationalities claim to be victims,” according to this source. The investigation was triggered by a report in July 2022 by Miviludes (the Interministerial Mission of Vigilance and Fight against Sectarian Aberrations), which was informed by the Human Rights League about 12 testimonies from former members of MISA.
The Paris Prosecutor’s Office then opened a judicial investigation for various crimes. Gregorian Bivolaru, the founder of the Movement for Spiritual Integration into the Absolute (MISA), was arrested on Tuesday in France, along with 40 other individuals suspected of having connections to an international organization that, under the guise of practicing yoga, allegedly committed acts of rape, kidnapping, or human trafficking.