Human Rights Watch is writing this open letter to express its condemnation of the five-year prison term handed down to Hojatoleslam Abdollah Nouri, publisher of Khordad newspaper, by a Special Court for the Clergy. Hojatoleslam Nouri, a former minister of interior and a close associate of President Khatami, was convicted on charges that his newspaper published articles that "defamed the system" and spread lies and propaganda against the state.