A lawyer says Jordan's state security court has sentenced a top official in the Muslim Brotherhood to 18 months in prison, after he criticized the United Arab Emirates, an ally of the kingdom.

Zaki Bani Ersheid, No. 2 in the Jordanian branch of the region-wide Brotherhood, was arrested in November after criticizing the UAE for labeling the movement a terrorist group.

Defense lawyer Saleh al-Armouti said the sentence imposed Sunday was politically motivated.

Dozens of Brotherhood supporters protested outside the courthouse.

Jordan has been cracking down on Islamist groups, focusing on supporters of the extremist Islamic State, but also detaining some activists from the more mainstream Brotherhood.

Jordan, backed by the UAE, recently intensified airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria after the extremists immolated a captured Jordanian fighter pilot.