Russia dropping case against sisters who killed abusive dad

1 February, 2020 12:00 AM printer

MOSCOW: Lawyers for three Russian sisters who killed their father after years of beatings and sexual abuse said Friday that prosecutors have asked that murder charges be dropped because they acted in self-defence, reports AFP.

Krestina, Angelina and Maria Khachaturyan together stabbed their father Mikhail to death in July 2018 at their home in Moscow after he subjected them to rape and abuse and prevented them from attending school.

They were 19, 18 and 17 at the time.

The high-profile case sparked rallies in their support as horrifying details of their lives emerged.

Last month the Investigative Committee said it was recommending charges of premeditated murder with a maximum jail term of 20 years against the two older sisters, Krestina and Angelina, despite the abuse.

The probe established that the sisters attacked their father with a knife and hammer.

Investigators ruled that the youngest sister, Maria, was mentally disturbed and could not be sent to prison but would serve time in a secure psychiatric facility.

The women’s lawyers said Friday that prosecutors have ordered the case be dropped.

It would be a major victory for Russia’s civil society as this would be a legal precedent that would help other women, activists say.

“The criminal case against all three Khachaturyan sisters will be closed,” lawyer Alexei Parshin told AFP.

Prosecutors had demanded that the powerful Investigative Committee which probes serious crimes drop murder charges against the sisters, Parshin said.

He said deputy prosecutor-general Viktor Grin had “refused to uphold the indictment” because investigators did not take the father’s “systematic” abuse into account.

There was no immediate confirmation from the Prosecutor-General’s Office nor the Investigative Committee.

Lawyers and activists have argued that the teenagers were forced to kill their father to save their own lives, pointing to the lack of legal protection for victims of domestic abuse in Russia.

There is no specific legislation to tackle domestic violence in Russia and activists have long accused lawmakers and police of turning a blind eye to abuse.

Russia decriminalised all but the gravest types of domestic violence in 2017. Police do not normally intervene, even in severe cases.