The president of the Maldives is urging the international community to respect the court verdict that sentenced his political opponent to 13 years in prison amid wide international criticism that the trial was flawed.

President Yameen Abdul Gayoom in a statement Saturday called on "international partners to engage constructively, based on mutual respect and dialogue."

A court on Friday convicted former President Mohamed Nasheed of having a senior judge arrested illegally when he was president three years ago. It said the arrest was akin to abduction.

However, countries and human rights groups raised concerns over the judicial procedure.

Nasheed became the first democratically elected president of this Indian Ocean archipelago nation in 2008 ending a 30-year autocratic rule by the current president's half-brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.