Russia Khachaturyan sisters: Investigators refuse to drop murder

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At the time of her father's death, Angelina (E) was 18, Maria (C) was 17 and Krestina, 19.

Russian investigators refused to file a murder charge against three sisters who killed their abusive father while he slept, leaving a controversial case in legal limbo.

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The prosecutor's office concluded earlier this year that the Khachaturyan sisters had been subjected to prolonged physical and sexual abuse.

The murder must therefore be seen as "necessary self-defense," he said.

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This decision was expected to close the case.

But a lawyer for one of the women told the BBC that Russia's investigative committee has now rejected the prosecutor's position.

What did the sisters do?

Teenagers Maria, Angelina and Krestina Khachaturyan were arrested in July 2018 for attacking their father, Mikhail, using a knife, hammer and pepper spray.

They later testified that their father had subjected them to prolonged abuse, holding them hostage in their home.

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The two older sisters, Krestina and Angelina Khachaturyan, face long prison terms if found guilty

The two older sisters face up to 20 years in prison if the murder charge is brought to court.

Her mother, who was forced to flee the family home for her own safety, previously told the BBC that she and others have complained to the police several times over the years about the violence, but have been ignored.

What does the researchers' decision mean?

"Formally, the investigation committee conducted an additional investigation, but came to the same conclusion [as before], "lawyer Alexei Lipser explained, which means that the original charge of premeditated murder still stands.

"It seems that the order from above remains the same," he said.

However, as there is no new evidence, the lawyer believes that the prosecutor's position will also remain unchanged.

"Now, or the investigators have to agree with the prosecutor and change the charge [to self-defence] or it keeps dripping and dripping, "said the lawyer.

How the sisters' case caused an uproar

The case sparked protests and a mass petition in support of women and increased calls for a new law against domestic violence.

In January, the prosecution found that the Khachaturyan sisters suffered "beatings, constant humiliation, threats and abuse, physical and sexual violence" and thus developed a "defensive reaction".

He concluded that the experience made them "protect themselves by any means", an argument that the investigation committee dismissed.

The case cannot be brought to court unless these two parties agree to the charge. The three sisters live separately in Moscow pending trial and are not allowed to communicate.

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