Russian authorities have freed 27 children who were living in underground cells as part of an Islamist sect. Some of the kids, ages 1 to 17, had never experienced daylight before, the Telegraph reports. They lived in the dark, without heat, among 70 members of the Tatarstan province sect, many of whom stayed below ground for almost a decade. The 83-year-old sect leader, Faizrakhman Satarov, has been charged with negligence and the children's parents charged with child abuse.
The kids are now under observation in hospitals. Police say the three-story house under which the group lived—illegally constructed—will be demolished; Satarov, who violated Muslim tenets by calling himself a prophet, had declared it its own Islamic state. Officials came upon the underground sect while investigating the killing of a leading cleric in the province. "They will come with bulldozers and guns, but they can demolish this house over our dead bodies," said the sect's deputy head. The AP has more. (Read more sect stories.)