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US NewsOutrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder

16:05  05 july  2019
16:05  05 july  2019 Source:   msn.com

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The Khachaturyan sisters , now aged 18, 19 and 20, were charged last month with premeditated murder in a case that has drawn outrage and shone a light on the way the Russian justice system handles domestic violence and sexual abuse cases.

Three teenage sisters who killed their father after suffering years of physical and sexual abuse are facing murder charges in Russia in a case that has The Khachaturyan sisters , now aged 18, 19 and 20, were charged last month with premeditated murder , in a case that has drawn outrage and

Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder © Provided by The Associated Press In this photo taken on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, Angelina Khachaturyan attends hearings in a court room in Moscow, Russia. Three Khachaturyan sisters, now aged 18, 19 and 20, face charges for the premeditated murder of their father who allegedly abused them for years, could land them in prison for up to 20-years, but the case has provoked outrage in Russia and calls to stop the court case. (Alexander Avilov, Moscow News Agency photo via AP)

MOSCOW (AP) — One evening last summer, Mikhail Khachaturyan decided that his living room wasn't tidy enough, so he summoned his three teenage daughters one by one and doused each with pepper spray.

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The case has provoked outrage in Russia , with calls to drop the charges . The Khachaturyan sisters , now aged 18, 19 and 20, were charged last month with premeditated murder , in a case that has drawn outrage and shone a light on the way the Russian justice system handles domestic

Now they are charged with murder . By Nataliya Vasilyeva The Associated Press. The Khachaturyan sisters , now aged 18, 19 and 20, were charged last month with premeditated murder , in a case that has drawn outrage and shone a light on the way the Russian justice system handles domestic

There was little unusual about this evening in the Khachaturyan household, according to court records, except for one thing: The sisters decided they couldn't take the violence and abuse anymore. They waited until their father fell asleep in his rocking chair and attacked him with a kitchen knife and a hammer. He put up a fight, but died within minutes.

The Khachaturyan sisters, now aged 18, 19 and 20, were charged last month with premeditated murder, in a case that has drawn outrage and shone a light on the way the Russian justice system handles domestic violence and sexual abuse cases.

Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder © Provided by The Associated Press In this photo taken on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, Krestina Khachaturyan attends hearings in a court room in Moscow, Russia. Three Khachaturyan sisters, now aged 18, 19 and 20, face charges of the premeditated murder of their father who allegedly abused them for years, could land them in prison for up to 20-years, but the case has provoked outrage in Russia and calls to stop the court case. (Alexander Avilov, Moscow News Agency photo via AP) More than 200,000 people have signed an online petition urging the prosecutors to drop the murder charges, which could land the sisters in prison for up to 20 years.

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The Khachaturyan sisters ' case drew outrage for the Russian justice system's handling of domestic violence and sexual abuse cases. Supporters of the sisters have protested outside Russian embassies in more than 20 locations abroad, and a theater has staged a performance in solidarity.

Outrage as Russian teen sisters face trial for killing their abusive father. The Khachaturyan sisters , who were then 17, 18, and 19 years old, were charged with premeditated murder charges for attacking their father, Mikhail, with a hammer and kitchen knife last July when he nodded off at their

Supporters of the sisters have protested outside Russian embassies in more than 20 locations abroad, and a theater has staged a performance in solidarity. They had planned a major rally in central Moscow on Saturday, but said they had to cancel it, citing city hall refusing to provide security for the gathering.

"The Khachaturyan case is quite indicative of the general situation with domestic violence and how the Russian state responds to this problem," says Yulia Gorbunova, who authored an extensive report on domestic violence for Human Rights Watch last year.

Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder © Provided by The Associated Press In this photo taken on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, Maria Khachaturyan attends hearings in a court room in Moscow, Russia. Three Khachaturyan sisters, now aged 18, 19 and 20, face charges for the premeditated murder of their father who allegedly abused them for years, could land them in prison for up to 20-years, but the case has provoked outrage in Russia and calls to stop the court case. (Alexander Avilov, Moscow News Agency photo via AP)

Pressured by conservative family groups, President Vladimir Putin in 2017 signed a law decriminalizing some forms of domestic violence, which has no fixed definition in the Russian legislation. Police routinely turn a blind eye to cases of domestic abuse, while preventive measures, such as restraining orders, are either lacking or not in wide use.

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The detention of three sisters charged with murdering their father was extended for 72 hours in Moscow’s Ostankinskiy disctict court on Monday. Russia : outrage as abused teens charged with murder - Продолжительность: 5:10 AP Archive 859 просмотров.

Three Russian teen sisters charged with killing their physically and sexually abusive father are accused by family members of concocting the tales of abuse . The explosive allegations against the Khachaturyan sisters were launched by their dead father’s sister and nephew in advance of their trial

Court filings showed that the Khachaturyan sisters were repeatedly beaten by their father, a war veteran, and sexually abused. He had kept a stockpile of knifes, guns and rifles at home despite having been diagnosed with a neurological disorder, and was known to shoot indoors. He repeatedly threatened neighbors and family with violence.

The Khacharutyan sisters' lawyers say the girls were driven to the edge.

"The first day we met," Krestina's lawyer Alexei Liptser said, "she said she's better off here, in jail, than living at home the way she had been."

Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder © Provided by The Associated Press In this photo taken on Wednesday, July 26, 2019, Krestina Khachaturyan, right, and her mother Aurelia Dunduk attend hearings in a court room in Moscow, Russia. Three Khachaturyan sisters, now aged 18, 19 and 20, face charges of the premeditated murder of their father who allegedly abused them for years, could land them in prison for up to 20-years, but the case has provoked outrage in Russia and calls to stop the court case. (Alexander Avilov, Moscow News Agency photo via AP) Going to the police was not an option for Khachaturyan's victims, who feared that life for them would only get worse. The girls had shared some of the horrors they had gone through with school friends but pleaded them not to go to the police. In the year before the attack, the girls attended less than two months of classes in total, but the school administration did not interfere.

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Prosecutors acknowledge the extraordinarily violent circumstances that pushed the teenagers to attack and eventually kill their own father, but they insist that Maria, Angelina and Krestina should be tried for murder. The sisters' lawyers argue that they were acting in justified self-defense in circumstances of lasting abuse and life-threatening violence.

The sisters have been released on bail and barred from seeing each other, witnesses in the case or the media. They are reportedly in good spirits. "At least, no one is beating them up," Liptser says.

The case of the three timid teenagers has inspired 29-year-old Zarema Zaudinova to direct a performance at the underground Theater Doc last week, combining the hair-raising experiences of the sisters with performers' own personal stories. Some members of the audience walked out after one of the more graphic accounts of abuse.

Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder © Provided by The Associated Press In this photo taken on Thursday, July 27, 2019, performers attend an action to support the Khachaturyan sisters, in Moscow, Russia. Performers at Theater Doc last week were reading out the Khachaturyan sisters' chilling testimony to a full house, mixing the accounts of mundane, unrelenting violence meted out by the girls' own father with their own personal stories of sexual abuse or domestic violence in what was the first public reckoning for many of them. Three Khachaturyan sisters, now aged 18, 19 and 20, face charges of the premeditated murder of their father who allegedly abused them for years, could land them in prison for up to 20-years, but the case has provoked outrage in Russia and calls to stop the court case.(AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin) For Zaudinova, the Khachaturyan case was the last straw.

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"We have no protection," she says. "We will either get raped or we will get thrown into prison if we defend ourselves."

Research on Russian criminal court cases compiled by media outlet Media Zona shows that out of 2,500 women convicted of manslaughter or murder in 2016 to 2018, nearly 2,000 killed a family member in a domestic violence setting.

Human Rights Watch has documented cases where "a very clear case of self-defense" was not recognized as such by prosecutors and led to the victim's imprisonment, according to Gorbunova.

Gallery: Court cases that captured the world's attention (Photos)

Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder
Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder
Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder
Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder
Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder
Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder
Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder
Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder
Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder
Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder
Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder
Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder
Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder
Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder
Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder
Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder

"The choice is not whether you go to the police and get help," she says. "The choice for these women was either to die or they had to protect themselves to the best of their ability."

Almost 2,000 people have recently posted first-person accounts of abuse and victim blaming to social media, after a young woman facing criminal charges for injuring her alleged rapist launched the hashtag #It'snotmyfault.

The bill to replace jail terms with fines in certain cases of domestic violence breezed through the Russian parliament in 2017 and was promptly signed by Putin. Despite its detrimental effect on domestic violence victims, the measure sparked a rare public debate on domestic violence and abuse in a country where a proverb goes: "If he beats you, that means he loves you."

Gorbunova says that public perception of domestic violence has been changing, triggered by the highly publicized court cases like that of the Khachaturyan sisters or the case of Margarita Gracheva, whose husband, previously reported to the police for threats of violence, took her to a forest and chopped off both of her hands. Gracheva endured online bullying and accusations of "provoking" her spouse before her husband was sentenced to 14 years in prison last year, a rare win for a victim of domestic violence in Russia. Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder © Provided by The Associated Press In this photo taken on Thursday, July 27, 2019, Syuyumbike Davlet-Kildeyeva, center, speaks at a performance to support Khachaturyan sisters, in Moscow, Russia. Performers at Theater Doc last week were reading out the Khachaturyan sisters' chilling testimony to a full house, mixing the accounts of mundane, unrelenting violence meted out by the girls' own father with their own personal stories of sexual abuse or domestic violence in what was the first public reckoning for many of them. Three Khachaturyan sisters, now aged 18, 19 and 20, face charges of the premeditated murder of their father who allegedly abused them for years, could land them in prison for up to 20-years, but the case has provoked outrage in Russia and calls to stop the court case.(AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

The women of Theater Doc say the verdict in the Khachaturyan sisters' case would send a strong message to Russian society.

"We need to fight for it, and talk loud and clear about it," says Zaudinova, who herself told a story onstage of being molested by a male relative at the age of 12. "If the girls get sent to prison and the court doesn't acknowledge that that was self-defense, they will be putting more people in prison and you won't be able to do anything to the person who decided to rape you."

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Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder

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