This is Bas Ismael, he was convicted on the 7th of being one of the kidnappers of two Americans and eighteen Filipinos at the Dos Palmas Resort in Palawan in 2001.

He and twenty other Filipino Muslims have been branded Abu Sayaff terrorists and sentenced to twenty life sentences in maximum security prison.  That’s 800 years.

Bas is one of CRC’s clients and I’ve gone to visit them in jail twice.  Do I think he did it?  No, but I accept that I’m basing that on personal impressions.

Perhaps the confession he provided after being beaten by fists and gun butts, being electricuted, and choked by having a plastic bag over his head was all true (that’s the confession where he admitted to every crime ever supposedly committed by the Abu Sayaff: I don’t have my notes so that’s something like 245 frustrated murder attempts, and multiple murder, kidnapping and others).

So if that’s all true then Bas is one skilled criminal–because he was 17 in 2001.

Post torture, Bas has consistantly claimed that he wasn’t in Palawan at the time (curiously I was—please don’t tell the government).

Even if he was involved does a 17 year old boy deserve to be imprisoned with adults for so long?  And now that he’s an adult to be sentenced to 20 life sentences?