Iryna Melkher

entrepreneur, sentenced to 17 years of imprisonment


Date of birth: 20 August 1955

Date of detention: 8 December 2020

Charges indicted:

Art. 342 of the Criminal Code — Organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order, or active participation in them
Part 2 of Art. 285 of the Criminal Code — Participation in a criminal organization in any other form
Art. 289 of the Criminal Code — An act of terrorism
Part 1 of Art. 14 and Part 2 of Art. 357 of the Criminal Code — Attempted conspiracy to seize state power by unconstitutional means

Sentence: 17 years

Penalty: imprisonment in a general-security penal colony

Prison sentence start date: 31 March 2023

Judge: Maksim Filatau

Prosecutor: Liudmila Herasimenka, Uladzimir Rabau

Prison: Penal colony No. 4

Godparent: Anikó Merten, Member of the German Bundestag

On the list of “terrorists” (money transfers are prohibited)

Iryna Melkher was arrested on terrorism charges together with her son Anton Melkher.

In February 2021, the KGB put her on the list of persons involved in terrorist activities.

Melkher received 17 years of imprisonment in a general-security penal colony and a fine of 22,400 Belarusian rubles ($8,800) in a high-profile Autukhovich case. She was convicted under four articles of the Criminal Code:

  • ‘Preparation for an act of terrorism committed by an organized group’ (Part 1 of Article 13 and Part 3 of Article 289)
  • ‘Taking part in a criminal organization in any other form’ (Part 2 of Article 285)
  • ‘Attempted seizure of state power by unconstitutional means’ (Part 1 of Article 14 and Part 2 of Article 357)
  • ‘Active participation in actions that grossly violate the public order’ (Part 1 of Article 342)

The defendants in the case were political activist Mikalai Autukhovich, priest Siarhei Rezanovich, his wife Liubou Rezanovich, their son Pavel Rezanovich, pensioner Halina Dzerbysh, activist Uladzimir Hundar, activist Volha Mayorava, pensioner Iryna Melkher and her son Anton Melkher, and Iryna Harachkina, Viktar Snehur and Pavel Sava. They have been held behind bars for 22 months. Only two of them fully admitted their guilt.  All of them were detained in December–January 2020. The authorities immediately declared Autukhovich the organizer and leader of a “terrorist group” that operated in the Hrodna region and allegedly set police officers’ cars and houses on fire.

The trial lasted five months. The verdict was pronounced on October 17, 2022, in the Hrodna Regional Court. Judge Maksim Filatau imposed jail terms ranging from two and a half to 25 years. Deputy chair of the prosecutor's office Liudmila Herasimenka and senior assistant prosecutor Rabau represented the state prosecution at the trial. The people's assessors were Stavorka, Zhdanovich, and Nichypor.

Mikalai Autukhovich gets 25 years in jail, members of his ‘group’—up to 20

On October 17, 2022, the Hrodna Regional Court pronounced the verdicts on the high-profile Autukhovich case. The trial lasted five months. Judge Maksim Filatau imposed jail terms ranging from two and a half to 25 years.


Mail address: Penal colony No. 4. 246035, Homieĺ, vulica Antoshkina 3

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