A Maldives opposition leader has been jailed for 12 years on charges of inciting unrest. Sheikh Imran Abdulla is the third high-profile politician to be jailed under President Yameen Abdul Gayoom's administration.
Imran's legal team said Wednesday it would appeal a jail term imposed under tough anti-terrorism legislation.
Defense lawyer Husnu Suood told Reuters news agency that the sentence passed by a criminal court in the archipelago's capital, Male, on Tuesday was "grossly unfair."
Suood said Imran, who leads the Maldives main Islamist grouping, the Adallath Party (AP), had not called for violence while delivering a speech in May last year during a mass rally to protest the jailing of dissidents.
Clashes between protestors and police during that rally were followed by the arrests of some 175 people, including Imran.
Last year, former President Mohamed Nasheed was sentenced to 13 years after being convicted of ordering the arrest of a judge during his presidency.
Former Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim was handed a 10-year prison term for possessing a pistol.
Nasheed, who was toppled in 2012, traveled last month to Britain for surgery after obtaining prison leave.
Yameen's former deputy Ahmed Adeeb is also being held on treason charges after he was implicated by authorities in an alleged plot to assassinate the president.
Yameen, who refused to accept a United Nations panel ruling that Nasheed's jailing had been illegal, recently called on opposition parties to attend talks and end the political standoff.
The Maldives, a tiny nation of 340,000 mainly Sunni Muslims, known internationally for its luxury island resorts, became nominally a multiparty democracy in 2008 after decades of autocratic rule.
Political turmoil has, however, damaged its reputation. Many of President Yameen's key rivals are either in jail or live in exile.
ipj/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)