THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (USA), THE GUARDIAN (UK)
Russian authorities have charged members of an Islamic sect with child abuse after discovering underground cells near Kazan in Tatarstan where a self-proclaimed prophet and his followers kept one to 17-year-olds for nearly a decade without heat or sunlight.
The Guardian reports that prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into the sect for activities such as preventing access to medical attention or education.
The underground bunker was discovered last Friday during a Russian police raid as part of the investigation into the recent killing of Tatarstan's deputy chief mufti, who was a vocal critic of radical Islam.
Twenty-seven young girls and boys were discovered during the raid, according to the Associated Press, and their parents are being charged with child abuse. Faizrakhman Satarov, the 83-year-old founder of the sect, was also charged with negligence. Under his rule, all but a few members of the sect were banned from leaving the eight-story underground bunker, which was dug by Satarov's followers on his instructions.
The Associated Press reports that the children will temporarily live in an orphanage.
"They will come with bulldozers and guns, but they will have to demolish this house over our dead bodies!" sect member Gumer Ganiyev told Russian Vesti television channel. Satarov had declared himself a prophet, which is contrary to Islamic principles.
Tatarstan is a majority Muslim Russian republic.