Moscow (dpa) - Three sisters, one dead father - in Moscow almost everyone knows the story of Maria, Angelina and Krestina Chatschaturjan. The three young women have been the focus of the Russian judiciary for around two years.

With dozens of knife stabs in the chest, they are said to have killed their father Mikhail in his sleep in the summer of 2018. They also had a hammer with them. None of them deny that. You yourself called the police and confessed to the crime. But that doesn't solve the case. The trial against the two older sisters will also begin soon - after two years of investigation and legal back-and-forth. On Monday (August 31), a jury will first be determined.

The three young women, then still in their teens, are anything but bloodthirsty murderers, say their lawyers. You yourself were victims of years of martyrdom. The attack on the father is said to have freed them from it. But the investigators still want to put the sisters behind bars for murder. The two elders face up to 20 years imprisonment. Only the youngest of them, Maria, was still a minor at the time of the crime. Therefore your case will be treated separately.

"For the three of them there is no move forward in their lives," says Anna Rivina, who heads a contact point for victims of domestic violence in Moscow. “The sisters are just incredibly tired. They cannot close the chapter of their martyrdom and work on their health. " Riwina is in close contact with the lawyers, but she cannot meet with the women. You are not in jail, but you have to adhere to strict conditions. The sisters are not even allowed to communicate with each other. They live separated.

For years the father had abused his daughters and locked them in a prefabricated apartment in the north of Moscow. Often he is said to have beaten her, sometimes mistreated her with a knife. The young women took pictures of their faces with large bruises on them. Apparently everyone in school and in the circle of friends knew about it. "But nobody did anything about it because they were afraid of their father," says expert Riwina. "The sisters knew that no one would protect them."

Other family members are also believed to have suffered from the violence. Nevertheless, relatives accuse the sisters of just fabricating the abuse allegations against their father. They had planned the murder insidiously to get rid of the strict father, it was said.

When the apartment was not clean enough for him, he is said to have sprayed pepper spray on a daughter's face. That was the evening the sisters later stabbed. The father was asleep in the TV chair. Many people in the country discuss whether it was murder or self-defense.

Since then, women have also been featured in the Russian state media. There were repeated solidarity actions, not only in Moscow, but also in the regions. That was quite unusual and was unthinkable a few years ago, says the lawyer Riwina of the German press agency. “Domestic violence just didn't exist in the Russian media. There is this illusion that this is a family matter and not a problem of the system. "

In Russia, domestic violence is rarely discussed in public. According to the Russian Interior Ministry, 40 percent of all crimes are committed at home, the overwhelming majority of them against women. A new Russian law in 2017 that decriminalized beating in partnerships caused international horror. The first attacks are therefore only punished like an administrative offense - with fines, for example. Only repeat offenders have to answer under criminal law. According to statistics from a non-governmental organization, around 90 percent of the cases are not known at all.

In Russia, the three women have therefore become a symbol of this very system that plays down domestic violence. Nevertheless, despite national and international attention, it is absolutely impossible to predict how the case will turn out. "I am not expecting too much," says the lawyer Rivina. "But I don't want to believe that they are putting women in jail and that we live in such a terrible world."

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