Mikhail Khachaturyan was known to let it lose on his three daughters. He was brutal to them and repeatedly threatened neighbors and family with violence. Mikhail repeatedly beat and sexually abused his children. And one summer’s evening in 2018, they put their foot down and said enough. Finding the living room untidy, Mikhail called his teengaed daughters and doused them with pepper spray. Not wanting to take the violence and abuse anyone, the three sisters waited until their father fell asleep and attacked him with a hammer and kitchen knife. That was the end of him.
The Khachaturyan sisters, Maria aged 18, Angelina – 19 and Krestina – 20 respectively were charged last month with premediated murder. Prosecutors have acknowledged the ‘extraordinary violent circumstances’ that pushed the teenaged sisters to attack and kill their father. But they insist that they should be tried for murder. Reports said that their lawyers argue that they were acting in justified self-defense in circumstances of lasting abuse and life-threatening violence.
However, the charge hasn’t gone down well with hundreds of thousands of people and an online petition campaign has been started for the sisters, urging prosecutors to drop the murder charge which could send in the sisters in for life. Till date, over 200,000 people have signed the petition.
According to various reports supporters have been protesting outside Russian Embassies in more than 20 countries. An expert, Yulia Gorbunova who has authored a report on domestic violence for Human Rights Watch said the Khachaturyan case is indicative of the general situation with domestic violence. According to Russian media 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.
Meanwhile, the Khachaturyan case has inspired a theatre artist, Zarema Zaudinova to direct a performance, combining the hair-raising experiences of the three sisters with performer’s own personal stories.