In July 2018, the body of Mikhail Khachaturyan was found on a staircase in a Moscow apartment block, with dozens of knife wounds to his chest and neck. He had come back from a psychiatric clinic a few hours before his death, lined up his three daughters to chastise them for both the messy apartment and pepper-sprayed their faces, as per investigators and lawyers of the girls. His eldest asthma-ridden daughter Krestina fainted. This was the night that the sisters of Khachatur — Krestina, 19, Angelina, 18, and Maria, 17 — wanted to kill their father.
They hit their father with a hammer, a knife, and he had turned on them the same can of pepper spray earlier. Interrogation transcripts leaked to the press and checked by an attorney for one of the sisters to CNN indicate that the women attempted to inflict wounds on themselves to make it look as if their father, who slept at the beginning of the attack, had first hit them with a knife. Instead, they called an ambulance and police.
The next day the three were arrested and admitted to the killing, saying that their father had suffered years of sexual , physical and emotional violence, according to their lawyers and the office of the Russian prosecutor general. The sisters were arrested last summer on charges of premeditated murder, stirring up outrage among activists in Russia that is struggling with a far-reaching issue of domestic violence.
The case of the Khachaturyans soon became a celebrity cause for rights groups seeking to pass a law to protect victims of domestic violence that were shelved by parliament in 2016. Their trial begins in a Moscow courtroom Friday after a lengthy and convoluted pre-trial investigation. Krestina and Angelina, the two elder sisters, must stand trial together. Maria, who is a minor at the time of the killing but arrest after she turns 18, also find mentally incompetent to commit murder and will tire separately on a murder charge, according to Aleksey Liptser, one of the sister’s attorneys.
Domestic abuse specialists, along with the sisters’ legal team, suggest their only option was to defend themselves or potentially perish at the hands of their father in the absence of sufficient security measures within the law enforcement and the court system. Mikhail Khachaturyan appeared to have threatened to kill them and sexually assault them and their mother in text messages captured from their father’s phone, and released by Liptser on Facebook.
The transcripts of the interview have painted a chilling image of emotional, physical and sexual violence, dating at least four years before the shooting.
Under the “I didn’t want to die” campaign. Activists have organized dozens of demonstrations in support of the sisters since last summer. It is calling on authorities to reclassify the case around self-defence for the sisters. In the case of the women, celebrities ranging from former presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak to the System. It is of a Down singer Serj Tankian making demands for leniency. A 2019 survey conducted by the independent pollster Levada Center. It found that the actions of the Khachaturian sisters were justified by 47 per cent. Thus of Russian women and 33 per cent of males.
A 2019 investigation by Media Zona, a Russian network covering justice and jails. It states that nearly 80 per cent of Russian women jail in 2016-2018. It is for premeditated murder were attempting to defend themselves from an abuser. Although Russian lawmakers have left on the backburner since 2016 the domestic violence bill. Three years ago they found time to decriminalize certain forms of harassment.
In 2017, under criticism from the Russian Orthodox Church and “traditional values” supporters, Parliament unanimously passed a bill. It became known as the “slapping rule,” which decriminalized the first offence of domestic abuse. It does not seriously harm the victim, rendering it a less severe administrative offence. At first, public sympathy for the Khachaturian sisters appeared to have turned the situation around.
Committee Investigates the Case
The prosecutors then directed the Investigating Committee to reclassify the case as required self-defence from premeditated murder. At the time, Parshin told TASS state news agency that the decision “essentially means the end of a criminal case”. It is against the women, who face up to 20 years in prison on a premeditated murder charge. Yet in a surprising turnaround, the same prosecutor who first proposed downgrading the case. Viktor Grin announces in May that premeditate murder charges against the sisters still lay. No explanation for that change gives.
Mari Davtyan, a lawyer for sisters frequently represent victims of domestic violence. It is related to the reversal to a wider trend to ignore human rights. It has evolved after the adoption of contentious constitutional amendments following a referendum on July 1.
So, the votes, set to solidify the rule of President Vladimir Putin. Thus, it is for years to come followed by a series of high-profile arrests. So, it includes the state treason charges brought against former journalist Ivan Safronov. Also, the trial of former governor of Khabarovsk, Sergey Furgal. So, he has whisked away to Moscow on years-old murder charges, sparking mass demonstrations in the Far East of Russia. All are denying any wrongdoing.