Story By: Anastasia Smirnova, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
A Russian court has ruled that three teenage sisters who stabbed their father to death in 2018 for allegedly raping them acted in self-defence and the current charges against them have been dropped.
The Khachaturian sisters are part of an ongoing high-profile criminal case in Russia that provoked debate about domestic violence in the country.
Krestina, Angelina and Maria Khachaturian were arrested in July 2018 and charged with premeditated murder of their father Mikhail Khachaturian.
According to reports, the father raped his three daughters for several years and had threatened to kill them if they told anyone.
Local media said that when he was killed, the sisters were 19, 18 and 17 years old.
They reportedly attacked their father simultaneously in their apartment in the Russian capital of Moscow as he watched TV.
Kristina reportedly attacked him with a knife, stabbing him his chest and neck, while Maria swung a hammer onto his head.
Reports said that Angelina helped her younger sisters by spraying pepper spray into her father’s face.
After the father’s death, the charges were reportedly upgraded to premeditated murder, punishable by up to 20 years in prison, in June 2019.
However, their defence lawyer said that the sisters acted in self-defence as they were subjected to constant violence and sexual abuse by their father over a long period of time.
The story prompted a large-scale public outcry, with activists defending the sisters and demanding a change in the country’s domestic violence laws.
Now, the Russian Prosecutor General’s office has reportedly concluded that premeditated murder was not a motive and their act was instead in self-defence.
One of the sisters’ lawyer Aleksey Liptser said in an exclusive interview with Central European News (CEN): “The case hasn’t been closed just yet.
“The Prosecutor General’s Office has studied the case materials and concluded that the actions of the Khachaturian sisters did not have a criminal element.”
Lipster explained that the case has returned to an ‘investigation’ stage even thought there was a note from the Prosecutor General’s Office that it’s representatives also consider the sisters’ actions as self-defence.
The lawyer added that the sisters are currently undergoing additional psychological and psychiatric examinations.
According to local media, the current charges have been dropped.
However, the Prosecutor General’s Office will now conduct an additional preliminary investigation, according to reports.
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