Egyptian authorities have released two prominent human rights activists who had been jailed for over a year for demonstrating against police brutality.

Lawyer Mahienour el-Masry and journalist Youssef Shabaan were freed Saturday after serving 15 months in jail having been convicted of "storming a police station" at a demonstration in the coastal city of Alexandria in 2013.

El-Masry had been incarcerated before for her activism, and in 2014 received the Ludovic Trarieux Human Rights Award while on hunger strike in prison. Hunger striking is often used in Egypt to protest ill treatment and lack of due process.

Egypt has undergone an unprecedented crackdown on free speech, political opposition and any dissent under general-turned-President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who has promised stability and the revival of a still-faltering economy in need of reform.