A party spokesman says Maldives police have taken former President Mohamed Nasheed back to jail even though his detention was formally commuted to house arrest last month.

Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, the spokesman for Nasheed's Maldivian Democratic Party, says police officers and officials from the Department of Corrections arrived by force at Nasheed's house in the capital of Male on Sunday night and took him away.

"He was last seen leaving Male on a speedboat," Ghafoor's statement said.

Nasheed was sentenced to a 13-year jail term in March after a criminal court found him guilty of ordering the military to detain a senior judge when he was president three years ago. It said the detention was akin to abduction under the terrorism law.

There was no immediate government comment.