EGMR: Bivolaru v. Romania (no. 28796/04)

The applicant, Gregorian Bivolaru, is a Romanian national who was born in 1952 and lives in Romania. The case concerned the complaints lodged by Mr Bivolaru, leader of the “Movement for Spiritual Integration into the Absolute”, relating to the lawfulness of his pre-trial detention, his right to presumption of innocence and respect for his right to private life.

Mr Bivolaru has been the leader of the “Spiritual Yoga Movement” (MISA) since 1990. On 18 March 2004 sixteen buildings occupied by members of the MISA, including M.D., were searched. On 26 March 2004 the public prosecutor brought proceedings against Mr Bivolaru on charges of sexual relations with a minor and sexual perversion allegedly committed on M.D., who had been a minor at the material time. In May 2004 two more similar complaints were added to Mr Bivolaru’s criminal file.

On 28 March 2004 Mr Bivolaru was arrested in the customs building at Nădlac, on the Romanian/Hungarian border, and charged with attempting to cross the border illegally. According to Mr Bivolaru, he had gone to the customs building to ascertain whether he was prohibited from leaving Romania before attempting to attend a seminar on yoga in Hungary. On 29 March 2004 Mr Bivolaru was remanded in custody and informed that he was charged with attempting to cross the border illegally, having sexual relations with a minor and sexual perversion. On 30 March 2004 the Bucharest County Court ordered Mr Bivolaru’s placement in pre-trial detention. Mr Bivolaru denied the charges and appealed. On 1 April 2004 the Bucharest Court of Appeal ordered his release at a hearing held at twelve noon. The applicant was released at 9.10 p.m. on the same day. The case had attracted extensive coverage by the Romanian media, which quoted the comments of a member of parliament and the Minister for Administration and the Interior on Mr Bivolaru. At the end of the criminal proceedings Mr Bivolaru was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. In the meantime, however, he had moved to Sweden, where he had been granted political asylum. According to the information available to the Court, Mr Bivolaru was arrested in Paris on 26 February 2016 and then extradited to Romania.

Relying on Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) of the Convention, Mr Bivolaru alleged that he had been deprived of his liberty without any plausible reason and detained for 10 hours in a police station despite the judgment of the Bucharest Court of Appeal of 1 April 2004 ordering his release. Relying on Article 6 § 2 (presumption of innocence), Mr Bivolaru complained about the various public statements made regarding him by State representatives. Relying on Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life), Mr Bivolaru complained in particular of the alleged disclosure to the press by the authorities of audio-visual material produced during the investigation and the information on his private life made public by the media.

  • No violation of Article 5 § 1 concerning the alleged lack of plausible reasons justifying the deprivation of liberty
  • Violation of Article 5 § 1 on account of the the deprivation of liberty subsequent to the judgment of the Court of Appeal of 1 April 2004
  • No violation of Article 6 § 2
  • No violation of Article 8
  • Just satisfaction: € 1,000 (non-pecuniary damage) and € 5,980 (costs and expenses)

Press release ECHR 73 (2017) 28/2/2017

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