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Moscow Court To Decide Next Week On Trial Of Sisters Charged With Killing Their Father

Krestina Khachaturyan (left) and her sister, Angelina, arrive for a court hearing in Moscow on July 31.
Krestina Khachaturyan (left) and her sister, Angelina, arrive for a court hearing in Moscow on July 31.

A court in Moscow says it will make public next week its decision regarding how to proceed with the trial of two sisters, who along with their younger sister are accused of killing their father in 2018.

After holding a preliminary hearing, the Moscow City Court said on July 31 that the court's decision on the extremely high-profile case will be made public on August 3.

Lawyers for Krestina and Angelina Khachaturyan have asked the court to send the case back to prosecutors, saying that the two sisters must be tried together with their younger sister Maria.

Maria Khachaturyan, who was 17 when the alleged crime took place, is set to be tried separately. A medical evaluation following the killing found her mentally unsound at the time of the crime, and she was recommended for psychological treatment.

Prosecutors on July 31 asked a Moscow court to extend by an additional six months pretrial restrictions for Krestina and Angelina Khachaturyan. The restrictions include a ban on Internet use, communication with each other and other participants in the case, and speaking to media.

The prosecutors asked the court to also ban the sisters from taking part in public events.

The sisters' lawyers asked the court to change the restrictions to just not being able to leave the city.

Investigators say that in July 2018 Krestina, Angelina, and Maria Khachaturyan -- then 19, 18, and 17 years old, respectively -- killed their father, Mikhail Khachaturyan, at their home in Moscow's outskirts.

Evidence Of Abuse

Materials gathered by investigators included substantial evidence of regular sexual and physical abuse by Khachaturyan against his daughters.

The case has attracted widespread attention from Russian media and civil society and has pitted defenders of conservative values, backed by the Russian Orthodox Church, with women's rights activists who have been calling for the introduction of legislation on domestic violence as a way of bringing alleged perpetrators like Khachaturyan to justice and enabling their victims to plead self-defense.

In early December, investigators finalized their indictment against the three sisters and sent it to the prosecutor’s office to prepare for trial. Krestina, Angelina, and Maria had acted with premeditation, it concluded, governed by "a strong personal enmity toward their father" due to continued physical and sexual abuse.

Later in December, Deputy Prosecutor-General Viktor Grin cited flaws in the investigation and asked officials to reclassify the sisters' actions as self-defense, which would have paved the way for the women to be let free.

But earlier in July, according to the defense team, Grin confirmed the original murder charges in an apparent volte-face, meaning the case will almost certainly go to trial.

With reporting by TASS and Interfax
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