A human rights lawyer says the imprisonment of former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed symbolizes a turn toward autocracy and extremism by a Muslim nation with the world's highest per-capita level of recruitment to the Islamic State group.

Amal Clooney is part of an international legal team that vowed Monday to apply "relentless" pressure on the Maldives government, seeking international sanctions and travel bans on senior officials until Nasheed is freed.

Nasheed is serving a 13-year sentence after a court found him guilty of terrorism for ordering the arrest of a senior judge when he was president three years ago.

A U.N. working group ruled last week that Nasheed hadn't received a fair trial and should be released.

Nasheed became the Indian Ocean nation's first democratically-elected president in 2008.