The Romanian yoga teacher, Gregorian Bivolaru, has been released from prison in his country of origin. The conditional release was requested and granted after serving one third of the sentence.
Thousands of yoga practitioners suffered the consequences of persecution in Romanian as the yoga movement was targeted, beginning during the Ceausescu times and culminating in 2004.
The yoga teacher, Gregorian Bivolaru, has had refugee status in Sweden since 2006, based on his religious persecution, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. In 2016, however, he was arrested in France and extradited to Romania. Thus, international laws were jeopardized, when Romanian authorities defied EU regulations by continuing the persecution and issuing a European Arrest Warrant in 2013. This created a unique and controversial situation within the EU judicial collaboration, where the refugee was simultaneously protected and persecuted.
The much awaited release of Mr. Bivolaru does not reflect an official change in the ongoing persecution of the yoga teacher.
The relief of his release cannot take away from the importance of the abuses committed in the case, and the struggle for justice within the Romanian system should continue.
Soteria International has been following this case since 2007 and shares the joy of Mr. Bivolaru's long awaited release. May his release inspire international human rights activists, politicians, and experts to further engage themselves in the defence of human rights.