Russian prosecutors uphold murder charges in the Khachaturyan sisters’ landmark sexual abuse case
The Russian Attorney General’s Office has approved the indictment in the case of the Khachaturyan sisters, who stand accused of murder “committed by a group following a premeditated conspiracy,” Alexey Parshin, a lawyer to one of the sisters, told RIA Novosti.
Who are the Khachaturyan sisters?
Police arrested Maria, Angelina, and Krestina Khachaturyan in July 2018 for killing their father, Mikhail. When they were arrested, the women were ages 17, 18, and 19. All three confessed to the killing, testifying that their father had been sexually abusive for years. The defendants were jailed initially and later released on their own recognizance. Their case has inspired a broad public support campaign.
In December 2019, state investigators completed their initial investigation of the case, pressing felony murder charges against the two older Khachaturyan sisters. Investigators declared the youngest sister, Maria, to be unfit to stand trial and proposed compulsory medical treatment.
Moscow’s City Court is now set to review the case against the older Khachaturyan sisters, Krestina and Angelina, while Moscow’s Butyrsky District Court will examine the case against Maria, the youngest sister, said her lawyer, Yaroslav Pakulin. According to Pakulin, Maria’s case being handled by a district court is against the law.
At the time of the murder, Maria was a minor. She was also declared mentally unfit to stand trial, and the Prosecutor’s Office therefore proposed that she undergo compulsory medical treatment, said lawyer Alexey Liptser.
Deputy Attorney General Viktor Grin approved the indictment — the same prosecutor who asked federal investigators to reclassify the Khachaturyan sisters’ actions from murder to justificable self-defense in January 2020. “Obviously he has changed his position during this time,” Liptser said.
Defense attorneys will now ask that the older sisters’ case be considered by a jury. The proceedings will likely be closed to the public, since the case involves evidence of sexual abuse.