MISA Yoga Practitioner Wins Case at European Court of Human Rights
The MISA Case Delivers Another Slap on the Face of Romanian Justice (part I)
by Decebal Avramescu
Some days ago, the European Court of Human Rights (CEDO) ordered Romania to pay 15 600 euros in moral fines to a yoga practitioner from MISA yoga school. The young girl, Dana Crăescu (now Dana Atudorei), was forcefully admitted to a psychiatric hospital in 2005 by her parents and the state authorities in order to stop her from having further contact with MISA.
Judges from CEDO have shown that this extremely severe abuse took place with the cooperation of several of the Romanian state institutions on the background of the extremely aggressive campaign that they have kept up for years against yoga practitioners and against MISA yoga school in Romania.
Even though they had been apprised in all legal ways (through complaints, memorandums and hearings), in a monstrously cynical way the Romanian authorities allowed Dana Crăescu to be treated with very aggressive medicines that are used for severe psychiatric illnesses and which almost completely destroyed her life, despite the fact that the young girl was perfectly healthy.
Furthermore, by means of the mass media, the case was used by the authorities over the years in an entirely manipulative manner, being presented to the public in such way that it generated a general attitude of adversity towards MISA yoga school. TV channels and newspapers across the board presented this case as an “example” to show that yoga practice within MISA can have psychiatric effects and lead to madness.
On the grounds of the same case there were also deplorable speculations that MISA ruins families which is precisely why it would be an organization with anti-social effects. On several occasions these particular reports in the mass media were accompanied by comments by so-called “specialists”, psychiatrists, psychologists and sociologists whose statements, based on entirely false premises (starting from a fabricated medical diagnosis), were extrapolated with malice towards the entire MISA yoga school.
For instance, such manipulating TV show in live transmission took place in 2005 at Acasă TV channel. Another more recent example is the article published by the newspaper Evenimentul Zilei on 23rd April 2010 which states that: “Another famous case is that of minor Dana Crăiescu from Buzău who left home when she was 15, signing up to the movement led by Bivolaru. After searching for her for several months, the authorities have found her and she has been hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital.”
It is to be mentioned as an exception that Romania’s national TV channel TVR1 objectively presented the case in a short documentary in 2005.
Due to countless complaints made by Dana Atudorei and her husband at various institutions, the case has become notorious and was included in the interpellations addressed to the Romanian state by several international human rights organizations, including APADOR-CH and Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF).
However, we’ve noticed that after almost 10 years of difficult steps through all competent institutions, this revolting case was solved by the European Court by the extreme and unequivocal sanctioning of the Romanian state.
In order to have a much more accurate idea of the abuses to which this young girl was subjected because of her desire to practice yoga within MISA, we’ll briefly outline the course of events.
During the time when she lived in her birthplace, Bârlad, Dana Crăescu was an eminent school student with exceptionally good results. She obtained a diploma from the University of Cambridge, from where she graduated with the maximum grade (ten); she was highly appreciated in a theatre group, and wrote very inspired poetry. However, despite all of this her parents treated her with extreme authoritarianism, constantly imposing on her their own standpoint. One of the things they decided to forbid her to do was to attend a yoga course in Bârlad, which was organized by MISA.
Her mother in particular used to accuse her of being a satanist and would threaten to follow the advice of a monk who told her to beat her with a wet rope until all stupidities left her head. It is important to understand that her parents used to do this because of the accusing and provoking manner in which the media portrayed MISA yoga school as being an immoral organization and a dangerous sect. Given the fact that the young girl didn’t want to give up the yoga course and that she even invited her parents to come and see for themselves that there was nothing wrong there, they decided to apply much more severe methods.
In July 2013, when Dana was 19 (therefore an adult!) her parents tied her up with two bed sheets and forcefully took her to Socola – the mental asylum of Iaşi, Romania.
To her parents’ surprise, the doctors at Socola told them that her daughter is perfectly healthy and the way in which they were treating her was severely abusive. Disregarding these conclusions, Dana’s parents still remained with their convictions. Consequently, Dana decided to leave home and move to Bucharest to live with some friends. Immediately afterwards her parents alerted the police and with the support of the authorities, soon after in the press there started to appear aberrant news such as that the young girl (about whom they were deceitfully saying that she was a minor at that time) was being held prisoner by MISA. In addition, even though the diagnosis from Socola very clearly showed that Dana does not have mental disturbances, TV channels and newspapers manipulated the public opinion in such a way that they stated that the young girl had gone mad because of yoga practice and that this would be an example of how MISA destroys families.
In January 2005, after she had been living in Bucharest for almost a year, Dana Crăescu came together with her fiancé (now her husband) Mugurel Atudorei to Bârlad to pick up a copy of her birth certificate at the Civil State Service in the Bârlad mayor’s office (because the original certificate had been stolen by her parents). This paper was needed in order for her to marry and to enroll at university in Bucharest. In front of the Civil State Service she was encircled by several persons, some of the family’s relatives and acquaintances. They took Dana by force, violently pushing her into a car and they kicked her fiancé who wanted to protect her. The young girl was fighting to escape and even wanted to jump off the car, but she was squeezed and couldn’t succeed.
It is worth mentioning the way in which her father described this scene in a declaration made to the Bârlad Police: “I, together with my wife and my father, spoke with my daughter, asking her to return home to our place. Our daughter refused and because we knew she had some health issues we admitted her to a psychiatric hospital (…). I mention here that my daughter has been part of MISA for around three years and hearing about the behavior of this sect I aim to bring her on the right path in my role as her parent.”
The abuses and illegalities perpetrated by the judges in Gregorian Bivolaru's case were reported to the Superior Council of the Magistracy (CSM). During the trial, several disciplinary complaints were filed at the Judiciary Inspection against the members of the judge...