Teen sisters face prison for killing abusive father

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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 sparked protests and a debate about domestic violence.

Maria, Angelina, and Krestina Khachaturyan bludgeoned and stabbed their 57-year-old father, Mikhail, to death as he dozed in an armchair at the family’s flat in northern Moscow last July. They were 17, 18 and 19 years old at the time. They reported the attack to police and admitted carrying it out, saying they believed their lives were at risk if they did not take action.

Investigators determined that the sisters were beaten almost daily by their father, who also forced them to perform sexual acts. He had physically abused them on the day of the fatal attack, locking them in a room and assaulting them with pepper spray.

The sisters’ mother, Aurelia Dunduk, told Russian media that Mikhail Khachaturyan regularly beat her, including with a baseball bat, before throwing her out of the house in 2016. She said police refused to bring charges, when she complained. Her ex-husband also told the sisters he would kill their mother, if they went to live with her.

Lawyers for the sisters said they had been conditioned from an early age to think of themselves as slaves. “The sisters had only one choice – to defend themselves, or die,” said Anna Rivina, the head of an anti-domestic violence organisation in Moscow.

The sisters were all charged this month with premeditated murder. Angelina and Krestina face up to 20 years in prison. Maria, a child at the time, could be imprisoned for up to 10 years.

The decision to bring murder charges has been met with protests. In Moscow, hundreds of people gathered last week outside the headquarters of the Investigative Committee law enforcement agency. Activists are continuing to picket its offices almost daily, while a larger rally in support of the sisters is scheduled in Moscow on 6 July. Demonstrations have also taken place at Russian embassies or consulates around the world, and Russian cultural figures have spoken out in defence of the sisters.

“There was no one they could turn to. Police in Russia think that domestic violence is a private, family affair and that there is no reason for them to get involved in this,” said Rivina. “The government can’t and won’t defend victims of domestic violence. Those women who are forced to defend themselves often end up in prison.”

Although there are no official statistics, MediaZona, an independent news website, has calculated that about 80% of all women convicted of murder in Russia were previously abused by violent partners. Human rights groups say at least 16 million women annually face domestic violence in Russia. A popular saying is: “If he beats you, it means he loves you.”

Alexei Parshin, a lawyer for one of the Khachaturyan sisters, said they were holding up well and had been buoyed by public support. They are currently living separately with relatives, under strict curfews, and barred from communicating with each other before the trial, which is expected to begin in August.

Parshin accused investigators of lacking the courage to quash or downgrade the murder charges. “They don’t want to take responsibility for this,” he said.

Russia is one of the few countries in the world not to have specific laws on domestic violence. In 2017, it decriminalised some forms of domestic violence for first-time offenders. Under current Russian law, violence against a spouse or children that does not result in broken bones is punishable by a 30,000-rouble (£375) fine or a 15-day jail sentence. Human rights groups say the average punishment is only a 5,000-rouble (£62) fine.

Women’s rights campaigners say incidences of domestic violence have increased since the law was changed.

In November, a man was sentenced to 14 years in prison after chopping off his wife’s hands. Days before the attack, he had forcibly taken her to a forest near Moscow and threatened to kill her. His wife reported the threats to police but officers took no action. In August, a man in Votkinsk, central Russia, who stabbed his wife to death in front of the couple’s five-year-old child, walked free after a court reclassified murder charges as a “crime of passion”.
Protests in Russia as sisters face jail for killing abusive father | Russia | The Guardian

Every 40 minutes, a woman in Russia loses her life to domestic violence, FYI: Russia's Disappearing Women: Every Forty Minutes A Woman Dies From Domestic Violence

:(

As to this specific case, it's been a huge shock to many people...

Mikhail Khachaturyan

was a very prominent figure in the Armenian community in Moscow, my own uncle Alik, for example, knew him, through business (among his other assets, Khachaturyan controlled a meat plant outside the city which has supplied uncle Alik's chain of butcher shops for years now). He was also... akhem... well known in organized crime circles there too, as a big timer in the Armenian mafia. That's not really unusual over there, most prominent businessmen in Russia are mobbed up, connected to some faction or other, no way out of that, really, you need strong "protection" to make a successful profit, in that country and to not have other thugs come and take it all away from you...

But, as far as his relationship with his daughter, NOBODY knew a damn thing, on the outside, it was a picture of total love, devotion, and idyllic family life



There was some talk of, maybe, arguments, that their dad perhaps objected to his girl's dressing too sexy, or dating non-Armenian boys. But that's also not unusual with Armenian or any Caucasian dad's over there. Certainly nobody suspected the horrible violent crap that really apparently went on in that home, in private, behind closed doors...

Now, their mom has posted photos she took of her daughters back then, their real life, bloodied and crying

Insane... To treat own daughters this way, what kind of animal...

One of the sisters escorted to court


One of the protesters supporting the girls, outside the court

Single person picket is only kind of public protest Russians are allowed by the Kremlin to engage in, so people actually lined up outside the courthouse to hold the picket, one at a time :)

This is bs, IMHO, these girls need to be set free and given proper psychological and such help, to recover from the ordeal both their dad and then the justice system have put them through! :mad:
 

The Man

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Supporters of the Khachaturyan sisters, who face up to 20 years in prison for killing their father after years of constant violence and abuse, have announced that they will attempt to receive a permit to march in support of the sisters for July 27 rather than July 6. Organizers said the safety of marchers would have been under threat on July 6 due both to the risk of arrest and to physical threats from nationalist patriarchal groups.

The risk of arrest emerged when Moscow municipal officials refused to issue a protest permit for July 6 even though the march’s organizers suggested several possible locations. The July 27 date was selected instead to coincide with the first anniversary of the day the Khachaturyan sisters rebelled against their father.

Organizers also cited threats from online pages for a group called The Male State. The activists posted a screenshot of a call from “The Male State Headquarters” saying members should “write to Nikita” if they would like to join a group bent on “reminding” the protesters “where fucking whores who mess with their fathers belong!” The message opens with the exclamation “Moscow Achtung!” March organizers had also received screenshots of messages in which Male State supporters planned to attack them using pepper spray. The activists indicated that marchers would have no means of defending themselves from physical violence if they could already be charged with protesting illegally.
Activists postpone march for Khachaturyan sisters after receiving threats from ‘Male State’ group and permit refusal from Moscow officials — Meduza

Pathetic...

So-called "men", threatening women with violence and pepper spray... And the authorities, of course, once more stand by uselessly and do nothing about it! :mad:
 
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Well if that story is indeed true I can't blame the girls for what they did.

As long as the investigators know its not another Mendez brother case then what these young ladies were going through justified their response.

Still, they are going to need help regardless because taking another humans life in that fashion will leave marks on a person and it certainly wasn't the best route to take.

They are going to need some serious counseling.

Detain them for around a year or so in some treatment facility so they can get the help they are going to need.
 
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The Man

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Well if that story is indeed true I can't blame the girls for what they did.

As long as the investigators know its not another Mendez brother case then what these young ladies were going through justified their response.

Still, they are going to need help regardless because taking another humans life in that fashion will leave marks on a person and it certainly wasn't the best route to take.

They are going to need some serious counseling.

Detain them for around a year or so in some treatment facility so they can get the help they are going to need.
You talking about these guys?
Lyle and Erik Menendez - Wikipedia

Yeah, that one is a fucked up case too...

But, I don't believe the Khachaturyan case is like that, no.

You have to know Caucasian culture. For girls from any ethnic group from Caucasus to do this, to rise up against and indeed KILL their father...

It has to be something truly extreme going on in that household...
 
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You talking about these guys?
Lyle and Erik Menendez - Wikipedia

Yeah, that one is a fucked up case too...

But, I don't believe the Khachaturyan case is like that, no.

You have to know Caucasian culture. For girls from any ethnic group from Caucasus to do this, to rise up against and indeed KILL their father...

It has to be something truly extreme going on in that household...
That's why I said they are going to need counseling, not prison time in my opinion.

They don't sound like they were born bad kids but what they were enduring was so extreme it pushed them to limits that humans are not prepared to be pushed to.

This has happened many times before

On March 9, 1977, Francine Hughes, following thirteen years of physical domestic abuse at the hands of her husband, James Berlin "Mickey" Hughes, tells their children to put their coats on and wait for her in their car. She then pours gasoline around the bed in which Mickey is sleeping in their home in Dansville, Michigan, and sets the bed afire. After the house catches fire, Hughes drives with her children to the local police station in order to confess to the act. Hughes is tried for first degree murder, and is found by a jury of her peers to be not guilty by reason of temporary insanity. It is widely believed that the judge and the jury largely sympathized with Francine's plight and felt that Mickey's murder was a justifiable action.
1562202538036.png
 
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The Man

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That's why I said they are going to need counseling, not prison time in my opinion.

They don't sound like they were born bad kids but what they were enduring was so extreme it pushed them to limits that humans are not prepared to be pushed to.

This has happened many times before



View attachment 25391
For sure.

It will probably take the poor girls years, with professional help and likely, yes, in an institution setting, as you say, to recover from this nightmare... :(

I will look up that movie, sounds fascinating. I do enjoy real life crime stories...
 

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MOSCOW -- 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.

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.

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.

Supporters of the sisters have protested outside Russian embassies in more than 20 locations abroad, and a theatre 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.

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.

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 neighbours 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."

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.

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-defence 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.

For Zaudinova, the Khachaturyan case was the last straw.

"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-defence" was not recognized as such by prosecutors and led to the victim's imprisonment, according to Gorbunova.

"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.

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-defence, 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."
Outrage in Russia as abused teen sisters charged with murder

Also:

Authorities have refused to approve a rally in downtown Moscow in support of three teenage sisters accused of murdering their abusive father, charges that have sparked calls to address Russia's domestic abuse problem.

They offered to approve a protest in the city outskirts, but activists said protesters on Saturday will instead stand in line near the Kremlin to conduct single-person pickets, which can be held without permission.

“We are also suggesting people hold pickets near their own flat blocks, because domestic violence is happening in in these flat blocks, and so abusers … won't feel they can act with such impunity,” said organiser Darya Serenko.

They will try to hold a full protest later this month.

After 57-year-old Mikhail Khachaturyan was maced, hit with a hammer and stabbed 36 times by his three teenage daughters at home in Moscow's northern outskirts last July, investigators hit the girls with the toughest murder charges on the books. They face up to 20 years in prison.

But behind closed doors, the prominent local businessman and churchgoer had insulted, humiliated, threatened and “subjected his daughters to physical and sexual violence,” according to state commission findings reported by Russian media.

The lurid case has since prompted calls for reform in Russia, where female victims find little sympathy amid Vladimir Putin's rhetoric on defending traditional values.
Much more: Moscow thwarts downtown rally for teen girls who killed abusive father
 
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The Man

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July 6th, single person pickets in Moscow in support of the sisters.

Alyona Popova, one of the founders of this whole women's right sproject


Veronika Yefremova, who said she is herself a victim of sexual violence and is against punishing those, like the three girls in question, who defend themselves from it


Among the (mostly) female activists was Emilia Grigoryan, who was one of the organizers of the event, and, apparently, wants to show that Armenians, especially Armenian women, will not be silent on this either (because, aside from her, it has mainly been Slavic feminists protesting, thus far)

She said that too many fellow Armenians are reluctant to speak out on this case because a. the traditional patriarchal family is very important to all of them, as a people of the Caucasus and all that, and few would want to openly challenge that concept; and b. honor, including collective honor as a people, as an ethnic group, is also a very big deal to them, also as Caucasians (very true), and nobody wants to trash their own people in front of the Slavic majority society, by holding up an Armenian man as a disgusting abuser and pedophile who beat and raped his own daughters... But, nonetheless, Emilia chose to be there, on behalf of her community "because someone has to be"... Good for her, I say. Her poster also refers to Alyona Verba, a (Slavic) woman who was murdered by her husband for wanting to leave him. I.E. this is an issue for ALL the women over there, regardless of ethnicity...

Zara Mkhitaryan, another Armenian activist, who also lamented the general silence of their diaspora on such cases


Irina I. (who did not want her full name disclosed), she represents a feminist group that specifically advocates for women with disabilities


An activist whose sign reminds that every 40 minutes in Russia a woman is killed by domestic violence, up to 14,000 a year, "femicide", as she calls it


There were some male supporters too, on the side of the feminists


Javid Mamedov, an activist of the "Socialist Alternative" movement

He too came to support the feminists; but, of course, many Armenians got pissed about his presence there, because he is ethnic Azerbaijani, the Armenians long timke Muslim enemy in the conflict over Karabakh/Artsakh: Nagorno-Karabakh conflict - Wikipedia

Poor dude never said a fucking word about Karabakh; but, naturally, on the Russian and Armenian sites I am reading about the "Azeri dog" who went there just to "trash Armenians" lol

A young man, apparently from the so-called "Male State" is led away by police officers, after approaching and trying to intimidate the feminist proteststers


Same guy, earlier, with his buddies


Over all, one picketer and three "Male State" guys were arrested. The cops actually protected the activists, in this case, and did not allow public disorder and violence against them; seems miracles can happen, even over there...

In Armenia itself, in the capital Yerevan, some activists also held a demonstration in support of the sisters at the Russian consulate


Armenian policeman holds back 83-year old Rimma Khachaturyan, Mikhail Khachaturyan's aunt, who came to confront and shout at the protesters at the consulate lol

Feisty little old lady, I'll say that...
 
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