A court in Maldives has sentenced a former defense minister to 11 years in prison for importing and possessing a firearm.

A criminal court in Male, the capital island of this Indian Ocean archipelago state, has passed the sentence against Mohamed Nazim Thursday night.

The same court earlier this month sentenced the country's former president to 13 years in prison after a disputed trial over the arrest of a senior judge while he was in power three years ago.

Nazim was sacked from President Yameen Abdul Gayoom's cabinet in January after police raided his home and found a pistol and some bullets. Possession or import of firearms by private persons is illegal.

Nazim's family and supporters say the charges were politically motivated because he was becoming popular within Gayoom's party.