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Russian Investigators Reject Prosecutor's Motion To Drop Murder Charges In Khachaturyan Case

Maria (left) and Angelina Khachaturyan attend a court hearing in Moscow in June 2019.
Maria (left) and Angelina Khachaturyan attend a court hearing in Moscow in June 2019.

Russia's Investigative Committee has rejected the recommendation of the Prosecutor-General's Office to reduce the charges against three sisters accused of killing their father in Moscow.

Lawyers Aleksei Liptser and Aleksei Parshin said on May 13 that investigators had refused to change the charge from premeditated murder to self-defense in the high-profile case that fueled debate on the issue of domestic violence in the country.

Prosecutors wanted the case reclassified as self-defense, which many in the country saw as a sign that the criminal case against Maria, Angelina, and Krestina Khachaturyan would be closed.

The three sisters, all of whom were teenagers at the time, stabbed their father to death in a Moscow suburb in July 2018 after enduring what they said was constant humiliation and sexual abuse.

The girls confessed to using a knife and hammer to kill their 57-year-old father, Mikhail Khachaturyan.

The Investigative Committee said in December 2019 that it had completed an investigation into the killing and was recommending charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder against the two older sisters, Krestina and Angelina, who were aged 18 and 19 at the time.

The statement said the two were of sound mind and aware of their actions when the killing occurred, but it also pointed to the long-term "physical and mental suffering" inflicted on them by their father as a mitigating circumstance.

They face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the charges.

Investigators recommended that the third sister, Maria, who was 17 at the time of her father's killing, should enter mandatory psychiatric care.

The case has received broad coverage in the media in Russia and abroad and has triggered a debate on domestic abuse following the 2017 introduction of a law decriminalizing most forms of battery.

Some 350,000 people have signed a petition demanding the sisters' release, while women's rights activists inside and outside of Russia have rallied in their support.

With reporting by TASS and Interfax
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