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An Emirates court handed members of a Muslim Brotherhood cell jail sentences ranging between three months and five years, the Emirates-based Al-Emarat Al-Youm portal reported on Tuesday. 

The case, which has been ongoing since 2013, involves 30 defendants – 20 Egyptians and 10 Emiratis – who were sentenced today by a high court in Abu Dhabi. The ruling also includes the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the deportation of the convicted Egyptians back to Egypt once the sentence lapses.

Defendants are accused of forming an unauthorized group, namely the Muslim Brotherhood, in the United Arab Emirates, and of circulating confidential documents that threaten the country's national security, as well as of founding investment companies, opening bank accounts to collect money in support of the Brotherhood in Egypt, and allegedly raising US$2 million to support the now-prohibited organization.

The defendants, who were arrested in June 2013, have denied all charges. According to the website, six of them have escaped. 

Little diplomacy from the Egyptian side has been displayed in response to the case. A foreign ministry delegation was sent to the Emirates last year but the outcome of the visit is unknown. 

The New-York based Human Rights Watch issued a statement in November raising concerns over the case, citing reports from the defendants claiming that they have been tortured and denied access to legal assistance for several months. The statement questioned the legal basis of the case, in particular the evidence used to declare the defendants guilty. 

The Emirates regime has been among staunchest opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt both during their rule and following their ouster by the military last July. 

The vocal Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan has repeatedly slammed the Muslim Brotherhood for threatening the Gulf monarchies’ security. 

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