Russian Police Charge Underground Sect Members with Abuse

Posted August 9th, 2012 at 2:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Russian authorities are investigating members of a reclusive Islamic sect after more than 70 followers, including a dozen children, were discovered living in an underground bunker with no access to the outside world.

Self-proclaimed prophet Faizrakhman Satarov led the sect based in Tatarstan, a majority Muslim internal Russian republic. Satarov allegedly ordered his followers to live in an eight level underground bunker, built under his house on the outskirts of the city of Kazan, for at least a decade.

Officials say the children, between the ages of one and 17, lived in cramped conditions, many never having seeing daylight, attending schools or receiving medical care. All have been placed into care, pending the investigation.

Prosecutors have charged Satarov with negligence and are investigating whether to charge the parents with abuse.

The sect was discovered during an investigation into recent attacks on moderate Muslim clerics in the area.