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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Romanian guru suspected of working worldwide intercourse sect handed preliminary fees with 14 others

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PARIS — A 71-year-old Romanian yoga guru and 14 others have been handed preliminary fees by a Paris Justice of the Peace on a raft of counts linked to a world ring that for years allegedly subjected followers looking for enlightenment to sexual exploitation.

The Paris prosecutor’s workplace mentioned that six of the 15 folks interrogated have been ordered held on Friday, whereas 9 others have been freed however below judicial surveillance.

Gregorian Bivolaru was amongst two of the six handed a string of preliminary fees that included human trafficking in an organized band, kidnapping, sequestration or arbitrary detention of quite a few folks together with rape and “abusing the weak point of a gaggle” by way of psychological or bodily subjection. Not one of the 15 was named however a judicial supply mentioned that Bivolaru was among the many two going through the longest listing of fees.

A trimmed-down model of the preliminary fees have been handed to the opposite suspects. An investigation will now decide whether or not the preliminary fees result in a proper indictment and a trial.

The arrest this previous week of Bivolaru and 40 others within the Paris area ended a six-year manhunt in a number of international locations. The police unit that combats sect-related crimes freed 26 folks described by authorities as sect victims who had been housed in deplorable circumstances.

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Accounts from alleged victims detailed within the French media painting Bivolaru as a guru who coerced ladies into sexual relationships below the guise of religious elevation in a profession spanning a long time and continents.

Bivolaru’s group, initially generally known as MISA, for Motion for Religious Integration Towards the Absolute, was later generally known as the Atman yoga federation. Non-consensual sexual actions below the facade of tantric yoga teachings have been allegedly on the coronary heart of the group, in keeping with a French judicial official who spoke final week on situation of anonymity as a result of the individual, like different judicial officers, wasn’t approved to debate the continuing investigation.

The group’s “ashrams” have been facilities for indoctrination and sexual exploitation disguised as religious enlightenment, in keeping with the official. One gave the impression to be solely devoted to satisfying the wishes of the chief, with ladies transported there from elsewhere, the official added.

MISA mentioned in an announcement on its web site in Romanian that Bivolaru had been focused by media campaigns because the Nineteen Nineties to “discredit and slander” him, calling any fees towards him in France “absurd accusations.”

The Atman federation in the meantime described the state of affairs to The Related Press in an electronic mail as a “witch hunt,” disclaiming duty for the non-public lives of scholars and lecturers at its member colleges. It additionally highlighted that some member colleges had gained {cases} on the European Courtroom of Human Rights, demonstrating human rights violations towards them.

The alleged sexual abuses spanned Europe. In 2017, Finland’s Nationwide Bureau of Investigation issued a world arrest warrant for him for alleged aggravated human trafficking. Bivolaru had obtained political refugee standing in Sweden in 2005, which delayed authorized proceedings in Romania. In France, yoga retreats have been held in and round Paris and within the southern Alpes-Maritimes area. Nevertheless, it was not instantly clear how lengthy he had been in France.


Thomas Adamson contributed to this report.

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