We publish here the English translation of the press release made by MISA Yoga School, one of our Atman member schools:
Accusations flow in the media. Where are the “victims” though?
The French police raid on 28 November 28 resulted in not even one alleged “victim” of Gregorian Bivolaru
Since Tuesday, November 28, a large part of the media in Romania and various international publications have been systematically circulating a huge amount of unfounded accusations and claims, based on so-called “investigative reports” by some French journalists or on old articles related to the previous fabricated files against Gregorian Bivolaru in Romania. In addition, the same so-called “victims” come to the fore, again and again, with absurd and sensational stories, trying to provoke hatred, indignation, revulsion, demonize thousands of yoga practitioners. However, the case in which Gregorian Bivolaru and 20 other yoga practitioners were accused of human trafficking ended in 2021 with the acquittal of all accused after 17 years of trial. The justice decided that the facts did not exist, in conclusion there were no “victims” of those non-existent facts.
In the past two weeks it has been repeatedly claimed in the media that French police raids have led to the “liberation” of 26 people who had been “kidnapped”, “abused”, “raped”, used as “sex slaves”, “trafficked” by “members of a sect”, etc. Along with these 26 “victims”, another 41 people were detained, alleged “aggressors” and “human traffickers”. Strangely, from November 28 until today, no journalist seems to be interested in what “shocking testimonies” and “incriminating statements” the 26 victims gave against Gregorian Bivolaru or other people in the “criminal gang”.
The reality, which the lawyers of Gregorian Bivolaru and the other 5 people who are still detained at this moment (out of the 41) described in great detail to French journalists, and which did not appear anywhere in the mass media(!), is that none of the 26 alleged “victims” gave any statement against Gregorian Bivolaru or any other person, none considered themselves “exploited”, “abused”, “trafficked” or the victim of any “rape”. However, they all complained about the inhumane treatment they were subjected to by the French police: they were taken out of the house in handcuffs; they were kept for hours almost naked, some barefoot, in temperatures slightly above zero degrees; at the police station they were sat directly on the floor; their money, phones, and in some cases even jewellery were confiscated; they did not receive food and water for dozens of hours; they were denied access to a lawyer, under the pretext that they are “victims” (or possibly witnesses) and therefore do not need a lawyer (in some situations they were even told that they do not have the right to a lawyer); they were given a standard declaration form to sign with the fields already filled in; because they refused, they were insulted and threatened; in the end, because the “victims” refused to “cooperate” and the police did not achieve their goal of obtaining incriminating statements, they returned their IDs and literally left them on the street, without money, without phones, dozens of kilometres from the homes where they had been picked up. Obviously, this is an appropriate treatment for criminals, not for the so-called “victims”, who in addition are supposed to be already “traumatized” from the abuses they have been subjected to.
Regarding the various accusations and statements appearing in the press, we specify that the criminal investigation process is ongoing, that all the information in the file is secret, only the lawyers have access to it, and they are obliged to keep it secret. So any statements regarding the contents of the file, witness statements, possible evidence, etc. are nothing more than speculation. Although there are some indications of leaks from the French police, they have no way of fuelling the amount of claims circulated by the media during this period.
We invite journalists concerned with the truth to ask themselves this question and look for the answer: where are the much trumpeted “victims” of Gregorian Bivolaru? You will find that they are rather victims of French police brutality, as several of them have recently told us. We are attaching some excerpts (unedited) from the transcript of these accounts.
MISA press office
December 12, 2023
Unedited excerpts from the transcript of the accounts of some of the so-called “victims of human trafficking”, “freed” by the French police
…A friend of mine, even though she opened the room for them, they pounced on her, knocked her down and put handcuffs on her.
…They kept us in the cold, they yelled at us. We were out in the garden at the end of November exactly as we were dressed and some were even barefoot for over an hour. There were people who asked to give them something from the house to get a coat for them and they just weren’t interested.
…They took us to a room, a room in the basement, to keep us all, and literally we were trying to help each other and every person who went to the basement, because he was no longer in the garden, they were looking to take off a vest or a coat or something they had on and give it to someone else who was still undressed and still standing in the cold… because we didn’t know how long it was going to take. They didn’t tell us anything, we kept asking them if they had a warrant, why they came to us, what was going on, and they didn’t pay attention to us. They were simply saying that it’s the judicial police and that they’re right and that they know what they’re doing and that everything is legal and that we don’t have the right to any lawyer, we don’t need to ask for any warrant, we don’t need to receive any kind of information.
…They came with their personal phones to take pictures of us, to send to their friends, or maybe to the newspapers, we have no way of knowing.
…They were photographing each of us individually as if…we were criminals.
…They were masked from head to toe and were very aggressive.
…They laughed at us and said “But how, we came to free you, to do you a favour”. And we said “But what good are you doing me, because I’m here, I’m sleeping, I have my things, nobody bothers me with anything, and you take me, threaten me with a gun, keep me naked in the cold, take me I don’t know where, what kind of freedom is this?” And they didn’t care, they confiscated our documents, they confiscated our phones, so we couldn’t get in touch with anyone…
…They said they came to save us, but they behaved as if we were criminals or had done something bad, they didn’t even leave us alone in the bathroom, they came with us to the bathroom.
…They took all our ID cards, they also took our phones, they told us to take our valuables and pack a small bag, because they were going to take us to another place, to a city where we will be…
…They put us in a bus, they escorted us with sirens and in the bus we were asking “But what’s going on? Where are you taking us and what do you want from us?”
…One of the policewomen told the three of us…how would there be three indictments in that operation, we were simply amazed, we said “But what do we have to do with such a thing?” they said, “You’re the victims,” “Victims of who?… Just that… you’ve taken away our freedom, you’ve taken away our papers, you’ve taken away our electronics, and we can’t know what’s going on, for a couple of hours.”
…But we don’t know your law very well, we don’t understand your language very well, we need a lawyer’s advice, so I don’t feel safe talking to someone whose language I don’t know and I don’t know the legislation very well, without consulting a lawyer.
…They took us from a place where we were calm, we had our lives and we were good, we had everything, and they threw us into the street in a foreign country.
…And at one point when we were at the police station, we were told that a representative of an association that protects victims would come. When that person came, she introduced herself, but she introduced herself to the translators, not to us, she didn’t even look at us. She said that she offers us… she represents an association that protects victims, she came to explain our rights as victims and give us shelter, but she conditioned us to speak. To divulge information.
…They had given us some horrible forms, something like we are witnesses and to say what we know about rapes, abduction of people, about some terrible accusations, it wasn’t… it wasn’t a statement in which you give your name and surname, the number of phone number, email address, where you’ve been, where you’re going, so they can get in touch with you, there were ten pages of very strange accusations and they told us they’re not giving us our documents back, they’re not giving us our phones, they’re not going to let us go, they will interrogate us separately and arrest us if we do not sign those statements. I mean they didn’t behave in any human way, like someone who cares for someone, who helps someone, it was an aberration, it was of the utmost hypocrisy, so they were absolutely horrible, you don’t treat anyone like that, it was inhuman, you just don’t do that.
…They started yelling at us, punching the table, saying that they are tired, that they started preparing for this operation at 2:30 in the morning and they want to go home, that they behaved nice with us and let’s see how they will be if we don’t do what they want.
…When we refused to sign those forms that were so strange and had nothing to do with reality, they started separating us and interrogating us and yelling at us and punching the table and telling us that we are not accused of anything, and it is a perfectly normal operation and we do not need any lawyer.
…They took away our identity documents or passports, our phones were taken, during all this time they continued to search the house, the whole atmosphere was so… of ordeal, of very loud noises, of screams, I mean, I don’t know, just like in the police films where they are… that is, that are about arms and drug dealers, which was not the case with us and we were not in this category.
…Initially we were told to read, and only to sign these documents f we wanted to. After… after a certain time when some of the people who were taken separately for questioning were returning, others were leaving, the Romanian translator who was also probably a police officer came and said why… she asked if anyone signed and I said no and she said why, that it is mandatory, and she started screaming that it is mandatory to sign these papers, and that it is mandatory, mandatory. After that we said no that it is optional, only if we want to sign and that it is not mandatory. She also started shouting that it is mandatory and she is talking to her colleagues. Later she left… and never came back.
…I asked if it was mandatory to sign, they said “no, no, no”, let’s read and sign, so we read to see what it was about and after that we refused to sign, we returned all the pages. After that another person came and said “Why didn’t you sign?” and she was so aggressive somehow. I said that I had asked and that it was not mandatory to sign, she was very angry and nervous and was puffing like that, you could see it on her… And she gave us another set of documents, this document if we signed it said “witness” at the top. After that they gave us another set of documents that were not even translated, the other documents were translated into Romanian, but the second set of documents were only in French. I didn’t even sign that document, because I didn’t understand it, it was in another language and… but we were scared, because we didn’t know what would happen, they would take us to interrogate us, to intimidate us…
…The whole atmosphere, from the beginning, how they rushed at us, yelling screaming, shouting, with the breaking of doors and further the aggressiveness with which they somehow forced us to sign and give statements were somehow the opposite of what they said to us [nb that we were victims], it was such an atmosphere of terror somehow, they verbally assaulted us and wanted to intimidate us into saying I don’t know what or signing what they needed.
…They kept us for several hours, almost… so from 6 in the morning, around 9-10 in the evening they let us go, luckily they returned our phones, but what to do, during the night where to go…
…I asked if we were accused or what was going on and they said not yet, not for now.