Russian state experts confirmed that the slain father of three teenage daughters facing up to 20 years in jail for killing him had abused them, the sisters’ lawyers have announced Tuesday.
The high-profile case has divided Russian society into those who say that Krestina, Angelina and Maria Khachaturyan acted in self-defense and those who view them as murderers. Investigators reportedly requested a second forensic examination last month after the sisters' family members questioned the first examination’s objectivity.
The Moscow city administration’s health department has determined that Mikhail Khachaturyan inflicted “serious harm” on his daughters’ health, according to findings cited by the lawyers representing the sisters.
“The capital’s forensic experts confirmed … that the mental disorders found in the Khachaturyan sisters are causally linked to Mikhail Khachaturyan’s actions,” the lawyers said.
The reported findings come amid the backdrop of a newly released video filmed by the father showing him verbally and physically abusing his daughters.
The Khachaturyan sisters are currently under special restrictions, a measure distinct from house arrest that imposes a curfew and bans internet and phone use, until Oct. 28.
Their supporters have staged near-weekly pickets in Moscow and St. Petersburg, blaming Russia’s legal system — which critics say turns a blind eye to domestic abuse — for forcing the teenagers to defend themselves.
Independent polling last month said that 41% of Russian respondents support the Khachaturyan sisters, while 29% don’t support them. Women respondents were more likely to support them than men.
Russia scrapped prison sentences in 2017 for first-time abusers whose beatings resulted in “minor harm,” leading to a spike in reported domestic violence cases. A top human rights official has said the decriminalization was a mistake, and lawmakers are debating introducing new laws to re-criminalize domestic violence.