Muslim Group Imprisoned Children Underground for Years

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Islamic group photo

A members of the Islamic group

Members of a Muslim group in Russia could face prison terms for isolating dozens of children from society, and forcing them to live underground for years.

The self-proclaimed prophet Faisrakhman Satarov and some of his followers could face up to five years in prison for forcing up to 27 children to live in a compound in the city of Kazan, some 800 kilometres east of Moscow, without access to public schools or health facilities, prosecutors in the city said.

This detention violated constitutional rights and, in some cases, the children should be turned over to orphanages or foster homes, authorities said. Some children had been born in the compound, reports said.

Prosecutors also are investigating a charge of operating an unregistered religious group against Faisrakhman.

Russian police in an August 1 raid on the compound uncovered children living in primitive conditions, and in some cases without having left the site for years at a time.

Medical checks showed some of the children to be suffering from tuberculosis and anemia. One 17-year old was found to be pregnant, reports said.

Kazan is the capital of Tartarstan, a predominantly Muslim region in central Russia. Most people living in Tartarstan follow the Sunni branch of Islam.