Russia Sect Spent Decade Underground —Literally

Islamist group kept 27 children from seeing daylight
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2012 2:17 PM CDT
Russia Sect Spent Decade Underground —Literally
Members of an underground sect in Russia's Volga River province of Tatarstan province stand at the gate of a house outside the provincial capital, Kazan, on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012.   (AP Photo/ Nikolay Alexandrov)

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. (More sect stories.)

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