File - In this photo taken on Wednesday, June 11, 2014, and released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian prisoners, center, checked by a security men (in green) as they leave a central jail, in Damascus, Syria. (AP Photo/SANA)
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Activist Mohsen al-Masri spent two years being dragged between prisons controlled by the Syrian security services, enduring savage beatings and being hanged from the ceiling for hours at a time.Masri is one of thousands of former detainees in Syria's sprawling prison underworld.Survivors and lawyers say there are now more than 100 detention centers holding around 200,000 people jailed since the revolt against President Bashar Assad began in 2011 . Mohammad Samaan, a 33-year-old activist from Damascus, remembers reading George Orwell's "1984," the novelist's dystopian vision of life under an all-knowing dictatorship, in the days before the uprising.The human rights lawyer described a hellish network of jails, security offices and secret detention centers across the country.In June, Assad issued an unprecedented amnesty covering tens of thousands of people detained throughout the conflict under Syria's notorious anti-terrorism law.Activists say most of those who led the uprising are now dead, in jail, or missing.
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