Facts About Torure-in-Chief – Bahrain Freedom Movement

1. Ibrahim Mohammed Al-Khalifa

2. Rashid Khalifa Al-Khalifa

3. Khalid Mohammed Al-Khalifa

4. Abdul Aziz Atteyat-Allah Al-Khalifa

5. Isa Ahmed Al-Khalifa

6. Ahmed Abdul Rahman Bu-Ali

7. Hassan Isa Al-Hassan

8. Mohammed Jasim Al-Thawadi

9. Abdl Salam Mohammed Al-Ansari

10. Abdulla Mohammed Jabr Al-Musallam

11. Rabea Hamad Senan

12. Abdul Rahman Rashid Al-Khalifa

13. Mohamed Ali Fadl Al-Nuaimi

14. Duaij Khalifa Al-Khalifa

15. Abdul Ghaffar Abdul Aziz

16. Khalifa Sultan Al-Khalifa

17. Naser Mohamed Jabr Al-Musallam

18. Isa Abdulla Bu-Khowwah

19. Khalifa Ahmed Al-Ghatam

20. Isa Rashid Flaifel

21. Faisal Salim Rashid Al-Absi

22. Rashid Abdul Aziz Al-Khalifa

23. Farooq Salman Al-Maawdah

24. Ahmed Abdulla Al-Abbasi

25. Kamal Abdul Rashid

26. Faez Ahmed Melik

27. Hamad Abdulla Al-Khalifa

28. Ahmed Hasan Al-Dowseri

29. Abdulla Isa Jabr Al-Mussalam

30. Khalifa Mobarak Al-Ghatam

31. Khalifa Salman Al-Khalifa

32. Salman Mohammed Al-Khalifa

33. Ali Duaij Al-Bin-Ali

34. Mohammed Aziz Jalal Khan

35. Javid Latif Kalon

36. Abdulla Salman Al-Maawdah

37. Isa Mohammed Al-Dowsery

38. Adel Jasim Mohammed Flaifel

39. Soud Haji Abdulla

40. Salim Khalifa saad Moftah

41. Abdul Rahman Saqr Al-Khalifa

42. Sabah Duaij Al-Khalifa

43. Mobarak Ahmed Al-Fadil

44. Mohammed Hamad Al-Maawdeh

45. Awatef Hasan Al-Jeshi

46. Ibrahim Habib Al-Ghaith

47. Ali Abdulla Al-Khalifa

48. Naji Fahad Al-Hashel

49. Sultan Ali Al-Suleiti

50. Abdulla Seif Al-Nuaimi

51. Mahmood Hussain Al-Akkori

52. Abdulla Abdul Latif Al-Sadeh

53. Mobrak Najim Al-Najim

54. Monira Ahmed Al-Khalifa

55. Zakkiyya Isa Al-Darraj

56. Nora Abdulla Al-Khalifa

Bahrain: Henderson’s Singaporean villa; More citizens sentenced

More information was revealed about the British officer who has led the repressive security forces since 1966. Sources inside Bahrain indicated that the ruling Al-Khalifa family has purchased a large villa for him in Singapore and that he plans to travel between the two countries. The Singaporean villa will be used as his residence if and when he feels that returning to the UK would be risky for him. On 2 July, the ruling family honoured him publicly. His name was mentioned in the local Arabic media for the first time since he assumed his role in Bahrain in 1966. Bahrain Freedom Movement7 July 2000 Tel/Fax: (+44) 207 278 9089

3 July 2000MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — A Briton who was accused of rights abuses while head of Bahrain’s internal security apparatus retired Monday from government service.The Gulf News Agency said Bahraini Prime Minister Sheik Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa met Col. Ian Henderson on Monday and thanked him for his contribution to the state during his long service in the security department.Opposition leaders have accused Bahrain’s security services of using force, detention and torture against dissidents. A British newspaper published allegations of torture against Henderson in the mid-1990s. In January, the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch welcomed Britain’s decision to investigate Henderson’s alleged role in torture in Bahrain.Henderson, who is in his 70s, has denied the torture claims, saying they were invented by opposition groups to attract media attention.The Scottish-born Henderson took over the security service in 1966, five years before the Gulf island took independence from Britain. He retired from the post of security chief in February 1998 and was rehired to serve as an adviser to the Interior Ministry.It was not known if there was any replacement for Henderson.Beginning in December 1994, Bahrain experienced a violent campaign for political and social reform led by Shiite Muslim activists. More than 40 people were reportedly killed in the unrest.Shiites are a slight majority of the 400,000 citizens of Bahrain, but the ruling Al Khalifa family are Sunni Muslims.The political turbulence has quieted in the past three years under the weight of a government crackdown.Sheik Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, who has led the emirate since his father’s death last year, has taken a more lenient approach toward the Shiite community. He has also relaxed media restrictions and made moves toward democracy.Bahrain maintains close ties with the United States and is home to the U.S. 5th Fleet. am-jbm

In the UK, Channel 4 and the Guardian covered on 4 July 2000 the news of the retirement of Ian Henderson and confirmed that Scotland Yard is still examining his case. The “chief torturer” will be awaited in Britain where human rights campaigners are calling for his arrest and trial. On the other hand, local newspapers said on 4 July that the Cabinet has approved the law regulating the National Guard. This paramilitary unit was formed by the Amir (then a Crown Price) in early 1998 in the absence of the prime minister. The premier considered the formation of the force as one of the steps to out-maneuvour his grip on the security forces.

British ‘torture chief’ quits

Brian Whitaker, The Guardian, Tuesday July 4, 2000, page 13.

A British colonel accused of torture while running the secret police in Bahrain retired abruptly yesterday from his post as an advisor to the island’s interior ministry.

A statement by the Gulf News Agency said the prime minister, Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, met Ian Henderson and thanked him for his ‘long service in the security department’.

Mr Henderson, 71, a Scot, took charge of Bahrain’s security in 1966, five years before it gained independence from Britain. He had previously served in colonial Kenya, fighting the Mau Mau uprising.

Oppositions groups in Bahrain, which has a population of 400,000, frequently complain of human rights abuses. In 1995 they accused Mr Henderson of ‘masterminding a ruthless campaign of repression’. He denied the accusation.

Mr Henderson’s retirement comes as the new ruler of Bahrain, Sheikh Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa, sets about liberalising the state. Besides announcing steps towards democracy, he has released several political detainees and set up a committee to monitor Human rights.

An Amnesty spokesman said:’ We’ve repeatedly raised our concerns about torture with the Bahraini authorities and with Henderson himself, since 1987.

‘ The government of Bahrain has consistently denied torture, but has never, to our knowledge, carried out a proper investigation.’

Mr Henderson left his post as Bahrain’s head of security two years ago to become an advisor to the interior ministry.

In January this year Jack Straw, the home secretary, announced that the organised crime branch of the Metropolitan was investigating Mr Henderson’s activities.

This came after it was reported that Mr Henderson had celebrated New year at his country home on Dartmoor, which is marked with a 5ft-high gallows and a sign saying ‘Beware of the Dogs’.

Lord Avebury, vice-chair of the parliamentary human rights group, suggested that Mr Henderson was liable to be arrested if he set foot in Britain again.

Scotland Yard confirmed yesterday that the papers in the case were still being examined.

Bahrain: Government’s declaration on Henderson

The Government of Bahrain declared on 3 July that Ian Henderson , the chief of intelligence department since 1966 has retired. The news was displayed in the local papers and this is the first time since 1966 that his name and tittle has been announced in the Arabic language media.The declaration is aimed at sending a message to the outside world that the “Henderson Era” is over. A spokesperson for the BFM said that this declaration would not change the actual policies of the regime for the following reasons:1. There are a dozen British officers who assume senior roles in the internal security apparatus, such as Donald Bryan and Dave Derby. Al-Khalifa members and other people, mainly from the outside, fill the rest of the top positions.2. The security system has been extended with more authorities given to local police stations to intimidate and persecute political activists. This internal security system has unlimited and unaccountable powers by virtue of the State Security Law that was masterminded by Ian Henderson.3. Ian Henderson and his men will remain in Bahrain to oversee other operations they are involved with, such as espionage. In the UK, Scotland Yard is investigating the case of Ian Henderson for alleged involvement in torturing Bahrainis since 1966. Human rights campaigners are calling for his arrest upon his return to the UK so that other tortures are warned that there is no impunity for human rights abusers.Bahrain Freedom Movement4 July 2000

Tel/Fax: (+44) 207 278 9089

A Document

From: NairobiRPTD: Dar Es Salaam (Acting H.C.)Kampala (Acting H.C.)D . Nairobi 12.31 hours 6th August 1964E . R. 10.56 hours 6th August 1964Sir Geoffrey de FreitesEN CLAIEImmediateNo. 1521Adrressed Commonwealth Relations Office No. 1521 repeated Immediate Dar es Salaam No. 480, Routine Kampala No. 416( 13 ) My immediately preceding telegram No. 1520.EXPULSIONSFollowing is text Kenya Government statement issued 1515 GMT 5th August. Begins:Mr. Richard Kisch, a correspondent who misreported the speech of the Prime Minister at a rally last Sunday August 2nd 1964, has been ordered to leave Kenya and has already left the ccountry. Investigations have revealed that the presence of Mr. Walter John Edward Whitehead, a Civil Servant of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Mr. Gordon Thomas Peter Hender of the East African Railways and Harbours Engineering department, and Mr. Ian Stuart McWalter Henderson, lately of the Police department, is contrary to natiFrom: NairobiRPTD: Dar Es Salaam (Acting H.C.)Kampala (Acting H.C.)D . Nairobi 12.31 hours 6th August 1964E . R. 10.56 hours 6th August 1964Sir Geoffrey de FreitesEN CLAIEImmediateNo. 1521Adrressed Commonwealth Relations Office No. 1521 repeated Immediate Dar es Salaam No. 480, Routine Kampala No. 416( 13 ) My immediately preceding telegram No. 1520.EXPULSIONSFollowing is text Kenya Government statement issued 1515 GMT 5th August. Begins:Mr. Richard Kisch, a correspondent who misreported the speech of the Prime Minister at a rally last Sunday August 2nd 1964, has been ordered to leave Kenya and has already left the ccountry. Investigations have revealed that the presence of Mr. Walter John Edward Whitehead, a Civil Servant of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Mr. Gordon Thomas Peter Hender of the East African Railways and Harbours Engineering department, and Mr. Ian Stuart McWalter Henderson, lately of the Police department, is contrary to national security. They therefore have been declared prohibited immigrants and ordered to leave the country within 24 hours and under an order signed by the Minister for Home Affairs, Mr. Oginga Odinga.Copy to:EAST AFRICA POLITICAL DISTRIBUTIONJ.I.C. DISTRIBUTIONC.R.O. Mr. Chatterton

Gulf State’s British torture chief moved

The Independent,5 March 98, Robert Fisk

“Officially, Ian Henderson has lost his job. According to the Bahrainis, the former British Special Branch officer and “hero’ of the Mau Mau war in Kenya has been replaced as head of the island’s Special Intelligence Service by Sheikh Khaled bin-Mohamed bin-Salman al-Khalifa, a member of the emirate’s ruling family. But opposition groups, whose members have storture in the cells of Mr Henderson’s SIS headquarters in Bahrain, have their doubts about the announcement. For almost 10 years, Bahraini dissidents, especillay Shia opposition members demanding a return to parliamentray rule, have claimed Mr Henderson, a Scot largely credited with breaking the Mau Mau’s intelliegence service, has been in charge of the island torture chambers. Thheir allegation is true. His interpreter -after three decades in Bahrain he cannot speak Arabic- is a Jordanian army officer who has personally whipped interrogation victims.

The New York-based human Rights Watch has reported that the toe-nails of prisoners have been torn out. Electricity has also been used on Shia protesters brought to Mr Henderson’s offices, although witnesses say the Briton has himself never inflicted torture.

In Britain, Bahraini opponents of the regime have been demanding Mr Henderson be brought to trial in London for rights abuses, a call supported by a number of Labour MPs. British foreign secretaries have disclaimed any responsibility for his activities – Mr Henderson’s victims have sometimes been deported to London and forbidden form returning to their country of birth, even though they hold full Bahraini passports.  There are rumours in Bahrain that Mr Henderson has cancer and has been given a golden handshake by the al-Khalifa family to buy property for his retirement in the US. But Bahraini opposition still wonder if the announcement is true. Asking for anonymity, one Bahraini critic said yesterday that even if Mr Henderson has been fform his job as SIS head, he may still hold a position within the al-Khalifa’s personal security service. “We are told he is being replaced by Khaled Mohammed-but the sheikh is not an interlligence man, just a traffic official,” the Bahraini said ” I suspect this is just a blind to ease the criticism form London.” His suspicions can only be re-inforced by a statement form the Bahraini government that Mr Henderson will be kept on as an “adviser” to the intererior ministry. 

Britain appointed him to his post in Bahrian prior to the emirate’s independence in 1971. The US has never uttered a word of protest about his presence on the island-not least because of Bahrain’s role as headquarters to the US 5th Fleet in the Gulf. 

SUNDAY MAIL, 8 MARCH 1998 (Issue No, 4176)

Jailed threat to scots terror boss

No hiding place for Bahrain barbarian

This scot is accused of some of most horrific crimes known to h. As security chief Ian Henderson ruled in the Gulf state of Bahrain, his men allegedly:

· RANSACKED whole villages and jailed preachers.

· INFLICTED sadistic sex torture on men and women.

· SNATCHED kids as young as seven, returning them dead in body bags.

· USED electric drills to maim prisoners and drill into their skulls.

Hellish torture cells earned Henderson, 69, the nickname ” The Bahrain Barbarian”. But he may soon be staring at the four walls of his own cell if he carries out his plan to slip back quietly into Scotland.

Henderson has been ousted as head of Bahrain’s State Investigation Service. But any thoughts he may harbour of coming home to retirement have been dashed due to a sickening catalogue of allegations against his organisation.

MP George Galloway, member for Hillhead, Glasgow, has demanded swift retribution against Hendersonif he sets foot in Scotland. And human rights campaigner Lord Avebury is calling on the Attorney General to take action against him under section 132 of the Criminal Justice Act.

Lord Avebury said: ” Since Britain signed the UN convention against torture, it means we must prosecute alleged offenders, our own citizens or not, and whether or not the offences were out with our jurisdiction. ” He is liable for prosecution”. ” there may be difficulty proving he had tortured anyone personally. ” However under the Nuremberg principle, heads of an organisation are responsible for the actions of subordinates. ” Hermann Goering was not accused of murdering Jews perso, but he led the organisation that was responsible – just like Henderson.

” Britons would hang their heads in shame if they knew what his organisation has done. ” we never contemplate the possibility that a British citizen should oversee these atrocities and tortures. ” Some of the worst examples include the imprisonment and torture of hundreds of children.”

And Mr. Galloway said: ” Henderson must face justice. We have a duty to take action against a man whose offices have overseen the most hideous tortures.”

Henderson, born in Aberdeenshire, was replace by a member of the ruling Al Khalifa family last week.

Amnesty International has produced a damning, detailed report against the Bahrain State Investigation Service, claiming the scale of its atrocities had risen to an unprecedented level.

Even though Henderson has stepped down, the Bahrain Freedom Movement don’t believe things are going to change dramatically. Dr Sayeed Shehabi, who fled to Britain, said last night: ” No one will be safe until all his henchmen are gone. ” He may have stepped down from his position, he leaves behind a regime which continues to torture, maim and imprison innocent men, women and children”.

Henderson won medals extracting confessions from Mau Mau rebels in British- ruled Kenya in the late 1950s.After a career in the police, he became head of the Kenyan Special Branch, where he was known for his ability to ” extract” information from rebels tribesmen. His repitation got him deported in 1964, the minute Kenya won her independence. Balding Henderson and his wife Marie moved to Bahrain, a British protectorate, where he became head of Special Brach in 1966.

Last night, a Bahrain Embassy spokesman said: ” We have no information on Ian Henderson’s future plans.”

The Big Issue in Scotland

Issue No: 159 (26 Feb – 4 mar 1998)

How We Toppled A Tyrant


Manama was suddenly plunged into total darkness. As a show of solidarity, Bahrain’s pro-democracy campaigners had doused the lights in their homes and on their streets in unison. The secret police patrolled the pitch-black capital looking for dissidents, their torches picking over the gloom. The spotlights, circling walls, illuminated a poster. The lettering was English, not Arabic. It was a page of the Big Issue in Scotland, smuggled into the country and pasted up by protestors. The headline read: “No blood on my hands”.

Beneath a picture of a dapper middle-aged man with a public school tie was a story, which had become a symbol of hope for Bahrainis fighting against their country’s autocratic rulers. For the first time, that article –which went on to win two awards – had called to account the head of Bahrain’s intelligence service, Scottish colonel Ian Henderson. He stands accused of directing torture, murder and repression.

The secretive director of intelligence had never spoken of his role before. Bahraini dissidents in exile in Bahrain and the Gulf kingdom saw the interview – in which Henderson effectively admitted his troops carried out torture – as the first victory in a long was to have the Scot brought to book.

Now that the war seems to be over. This week The Big Issue in Scotland can reveal that the 71-year-old has been removed as head of the ‘torture squad’. He is to be replaced by a young member of the ruling family.

Bahrain’s pro-democracy groups claim international pressure led by The Big Issue in Scotland resulted in Hunderson’s removal – but State propaganda maintains otherwise, Bahrain’s ambassador, himself a member of the Royal family, contacted The Big Issue and insisted Henderson had merelyretired.

Leading human rights campaigners contend Bahrain, keen to be seen as a ‘good guy’ by the West, took the first opportunity they could to get rid of their aging secret policeman.

The Big Issue in Scotland, which campaigned for over a year to have Henderson removed, has received huge acclaim as a key player ending hid reign of terror. Mansoor al-Jamri, leader of the Bahrain Freedom Movement (BFM), said: “The Big Issue’s campaign has been humanistic, brave and pioneering.

“You have led those who aspire to a fairer, kinder world. You have fulfilled the role of true journalists in fighting evil and crusading for good”.

The exiled dissident, now living in London, added: “The Big Issue has carried a banner of justice and a torch of truth for the last year. The people of Bahrain will be forever in your debt.”

Locals call Henderson, a former colonial special branch agent, “the butcher of Bahrain”. The Scot fought in the bloody Kenyan independence war, and was later deported for his role in the conflict. He worked for Rhodesian security and apartheid South Africa before moving to Bahrain over 30 years ago.

The majority of Bahrainis are Shi’ite Muslims. They have been discriminated against by the ruling Sunni Muslims since independence in 1971. Dissidents want rulers, who have destroyed all democracy, to restore parliament following its 1975 suspension and lift the staggering violence; arrest, torture, detention without trial (even for children), forced exile and murder.

When The Big Issue interviewed Henderson, he admitted that “vigorous interrogation” was common, but denied directing torture.

But victims we have spoken to described their horrific treatment at the hands of Henderson’s men. Zaki Khalifa, now seeking British political asylum, was trussed up, hung by his arms, beaten and kept standing for 72 hours. He was just 17 when he endured the 29-day ordeal. Now permanently disabled form the abuse, he recalls one chilling face-to-face encounter with Henderson. “I told him that I had told the guards everything I knew. He just looked at me with cold emotionless eyes and said, ‘Do you think you can ever go home?’ I thought then, I was going to die. I just prayed that my end would be quick.”

Many other dissidents have died under torture. When quizzed by The Big Issue, Henderson said: “Torture is a much abused term, Arabs have a different way of looking at things.”

The most sickening case against Bahrain is that of Saeed al-Eskafi. The 16-year-old was arrested after a street campaign and died under interrogation. His body had been burned with and iron and he had been sexually assaulted.

The rape of prisoners is not uncommon. Bahrain is run like a feudal sheikdom. Its 500,000 population are completely under the power of the emir, Sheikh Isa Bin Salman al-Khalifa –although many ex-patriot Britons live in opulent luxury. Until now Henderson has been described as the power behind the throne.

BFM leader Mansoor al-Jamri, whose father is the jailed leader of the dissidmovement, said Henderson had become a “liability” in Bahrain, bringing too much attention to the country’s abysmal human rights record.

It is though that a token gesture on human rights, like the departure of Henderson, will keep the eyes of the West away from the regime’s abuses.

With rumours now circulating of Henderson’s plans to retire to the UK or America, there are calls for his prosecution. In his interview with The Big Issue Henderson said he dreamed of retiring to Scotland. And he poured scorn on calls for his arrest, saying: “That would be a very big mistake. They wouldn’t have a legal let to stand on.”

But a US Government source said: “Henderson sounds like a very bad character. The Government wouldn’t want him to set foot on US soil.”

Henderson’s escape routes from Bahrain seem cut off. His past is catching up with him.

Britain’s leading human rights campaigner, Lord Avebury, said: “The Big Issue should take every credit. While horror after horror was unfolding in Bahrain, no one cared by The Big Issue. It led the way in calling for action.”

The end of Henderson’s regime has added new momentum to the BFM’s struggle. “We have won a battle, but we still have to fight the war,” says Mansoor al-Jamri. “Henderson has gone, but the regime he controlled will remain the same. At the end of the day we have only replaced one evil with a new evil.” END

Bahrain: Opposition figure interviewed on reported dismissal of security head

Text of telephone interview with Ali Salman, a Bahraini opposition figure in London by Muhammad Kurayshan in Doha broadcast live by Qatari Al-Jazirah satellite TV on 28th February 1998 (Source: BBC Monintoring Service).

[Kurayshan] Good evening, Mr Salman. How do you view the dismissal of [Bahrain’s Security Chief] Ian Henderson?

[Salman] So far, the picture is not clear. The only certain development is that one of the ruling family members has been appointed director of the state intelligence service. This was one of Ian Henderson’s previous duties, among the other duties he has been assuming at the Interior Ministry. The dismissal is not certain as yet. A week ago, Ian Henderson was at the inauguration of an Interior Ministry centre. He was accompanying the interior minister.

[Q] Perhaps this is because of reports that he kept his position as an adviser to the interior minister.

[A] That is possible. No doubt the opposition pressure and the continuous nationalist demands over many years are working in this direction, forcing the state to make some formal changes. We are aware that there are more than 30 foreigners, British and other nationalities, managing the security apparatus. These are led by Ian Henderson.

[Q] It may be worth noting that Henderson’s dismissawas one of your persistent demands, but when this took place we noted that your reaction was lukewarm as though the event was not so important to you perhaps.

[A] For one thing, we are not certain of the resignation. For another, the presence of the other foreigners dampened our jubilation. The continuous violent practices – we receive daily reports about new torture victims – reduce our joy in this regard. All these things make the opposition statements devoid of joy.

[Q] Mr Salman, do you have any information, however rudimentary, about the character of Shaykh Khalid Bin Muhammad Bin Salman Al Khalifah? Do you believe that his attitude differs from the one you referred to a short while ago?

[A] The first observation is that the current appointments are confined to the ruling family. In addition to Khalid Bin Muhammad, a family member has also been appointed as governor of Muharraq and another as governor of Manama. This orientation indicates ill intentions towards the people and failure to recognize the abilities of other citizens in general. All we wish is that this new appointee will offer positive initiatives on the ground. There are 2,000 detainees concerning whom he needs to take action. There are daily reports on torture victims. We need to see indications so that we could give an impression about this person. However, we the opposition have the general impression that this policy, regrettably, is adopted at the highest political levels in the country.

[Q] If Shaykh Khalid takes initto calm the atmosphere with the opposition, will you respond positively?

[A] The opposition will respond positively to any positive step so as to arrive at a state of genuine stability in the country and discuss the Bahraini people’s political demands. Any positive step will be reciprocated by positive steps on the part of the opposition.

[Kurayshan] Ali Salman, the Bahraini oppositionist from London, Thank you very much.

Al-Jazirah Satellite Channel, Doha, in Arabic 2150 gmt 28 Feb 98 (BBC Mon ME1 MEPol rs)

Financial Times

Friday February 20,1998

Bahrain spy chief replaced

Ian Henderson, the reclusive 70-year-old British head of Bahrain’s Intelligence Service blamed by Shia dissidents for the Sunni government’s repressive policies, has been replaced.

His successor is Sheikh Khalid Bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa, a member of the ruling Al Khalifa family, whose members hold all the key cabinet posts.

Mr. Henderson, a former colonial intelligence officer in Kenya who made his name during the 1950s Mau Mau rebellion, was appointed in 1966 by Sheikh Isa. Although nominally under the control of the interior ministry, Mr. Henderson became a power in his own right with direct access to the ruler.

According to western diplomats Mr. Henderson had” long wanted to retire, and had only stayed at the urging of the ruler himself.” His departure is seen by many in both the minority Sunni and the Shia communities as the end of the colonial era; and according to Bahrain Freedom Movement in London, ” the end of an era of torture and repression.”

The New-York based Human Rights Watch recently castigated Bahrain for repeated violations of civil and political rights.

11 December 96: A significant reorganisation of the interior ministry was announced by the Bahraini government with plans to create more capabilities for intelligence services and repressive units. The new organisation was designed with the view that Ian Henderson, the Scotsman who controlled all security operations in Bahrain since 1966, may not be in charge of the new structure in a short time

The First Ever Interview with Ian Henderson

Scots security boss branded “master torturer” of Bahrain

“No blood on my hands”

EXCLUSIVE: The Big Issue in Scotland dated 28 December – 8 January 1997

by Neil Mackay

A SCOT who heads a Middle East “torture squad” could face arrest if he retires to Britain, The Big Issue in Scotland can reveal. Colonel Ian Henderson spoke of his hopes to give up his role as Bahrain’s Director of Intelligence and spend his final days in Scotland. But retirement plans could be his downfall, as Henderson could be arrested and tried for a catalogue of alleged crimes if he sets foot in Britain.

Human rights campaigners and Bahrainis fleeing persecution claim Henderson master-minded a reign of terror by the security forces – including torture, detention without trial and forced exile. Legal experts say the UN Convention Against Torture places an obligation on Britain to arrest or extradite him.

Henderson, known as “the master torturer”, has never spoken before of his role as a hired gun for the oppressive regime – he was decorated for fighting the Mau-Mau in Kenya before signing up as a mercenary in Bahrain.

The well-spoken 69-year-old poured scorn on calls for his arrest, saying: “That would be a big mistake. They wouldn’t have a legal leg to stand on.” Henderson admits “vigorous interrogation” is common, but denies torturing or directing torture, adding: “I’ve never lifted a finger against anyone, or asked officers to do so.” Lord Avebury, UK Parliamentary Human Rights Group Chairman, said Henderson was “awash with blood”.

One victim Zaki Khalifa, seeking British political asylum, told how Henderson’s men trussed him, hung him by his arms, beat him for days and kept him standing for 72 hours. Henderson allegedly threatened Khalifa, who is now almost crippled, that he would never leave the jail. The 25-year-old said: “Henderson is a monster.”

Since pro-democracy demonstrations flared in 1994, Henderson has ordered interrogations leading to death through torture, according to the Bahrain Freedom Movement (BFM). Security forces also shot demonstrators dead. Many Bahrainis have been forcibly exiled, and detention without trial – even for children – is common. The BFM says ‘rape squads’ sexually assault prisoners. The death of 16-year-old Saeed Al-Eskafi shocked campaigners who claim he had been repeatedly raped and burned with an iron. The Bahraini Embassy described Saeed’s death as “natural”. Henderson dismissed BFM accusations as pro-Iranian propaganda, a claim the BFM deny. However, Henderson admitted: “There has been violence on both sides.”

Henderson denied torture allegations, including claims of electric shocks and drilling victims’ bodies, saying: “I don’t do nine-tenths of what I’m accused of. I’m an easy propaganda target because I’m British. BFM allegations of violence are nonsense. My job is to resist violence.” The European Parliament condemned Bahrain for human rights abuses, calling on Britain to order Henderson to quit Bahrain.

A foreign Office spokesman said the Government was concerned about Human rights abuses. The issue has been raised at ministerial level with Bahrain. However, Britain does not accept responsibility for Henderson’s actions despite his UK citizenship.

The Bahrain Embassy refused to comment on Henderson’s role claiming it could not “divulge information concerning internal security”. The BFM describes Henderson as “the power behind Bahrain’s throne”. It is claimed that he has a dozen British officers on staff, some of whom are alleged to have directed interrogations.

BFM believe Henderson has a security company working for him in London spying on Bahrain exiles. Exiled BFM leader Mansoor Al-Jamri, whose father has been jailed and sister detained and tortured, said Henderson was personally responsible for directing repression. The Scots-educated protester said: “Henderson is ruthless. Even the king can’t save you from him. “Torturers cannot act with impunity, Britain must arrest him when he next arrives.”

Campaigners demand Britain steps up pressure on Bahrain. There are also calls for economic sanctions. Exile Abdul Mohammed, Secretary-General of Copenhagen-based Bahrain Human Rights Organisation, said Henderson gave orders resulting in his torture. “People will continue to die, unless Britain compels Bahrain to reform,” he added.

Amnesty International’s Bahrain expert Hania Mufti said human rights in Bahrain, ruled by the autocratic Sheikh Isa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa, are “in crisis”, and torture is “routine and widespread”. Bahrain human rights are bottom of western government agendas, Mufti added.

Lord Avebury, Parliamentary Human Rights Chairman, claims Britain and America are unwilling to get tough on Bahrain because it is militarily and economically strategic in the Gulf. He labeled Henderson “the arch torturer at the apex of repression”, urging British-based victims to take civil action if he returns. But Avebury would prefer to see Henderson jailed.

Extracts from “The Independent” 18 Feb 96

Briton at the heart of Bahrain’s brutality rule: Robert FISK on the secretive and widely feared ‘power behind the throne’ of the troubled emirate


IAN Stewart MacWalter Henderson has torturers on his staff. In the embattled state of BAHRAIN, he is the most feared of all secret policemen, the General Director of Security and head of the State Investigation Department, a 67-year-old ex-British police superintendent whose officers routinely beat prisoners, both in the basements of the SIS offices and in the al- Qalaa jail. Leaders of the Bahraini opposition believe he is the power behind the throne of Sheikh Issa bin Salman al-Khalifa, and they may well be right.

Interviews with former Bahraini prisoners living in Beirut, Damascus, Qatar and London provide consistent and compelling evidence that severe beatings and even sexual assaults have been carried out against prisoners under Henderson’s responsibility for well over a decade. Although the British Government has repeatedly denied any connection with Henderson, the Foreign Office remains deeply embarrassed by the role of the former Special Branch officer who twice won the George Medal for his role fighting the Mau Mau in British-ruled Kenya. Accounts given to me by Bahraini nationals suggest that Henderson now wields total power over the island’s security apparatus.

A leading Shia clergyman has described to me how he was beaten with a cane last year by a Jordanian SIS colonel called Adel Fleifl – who is Henderson’s official interpreter. The same man was accused of torturing a young Shia woman in 1985 by tying her to a pole in SIS headquarters and beating her insensible with his fists. One former prisoner claims that in the 1980s he was sexually abused in Henderson’s headquarters by another British officer who forced a bottle into his anus in an attempt to persuade him to reveal the names of Shia opponents of Sheikh Issa’s regime. The man identified the Briton by name and we have confirmed that a British officer of the same name worked for Henderson at the time.

Henderson himself is a bespectacled, almost avuncular, figure whose politeness is as legendary as his staff’s brutality. He has never personally harmed a prisoner – nor, so far as is known, been present at torture sessions – and his fourth-floor offices and archive rooms in Bahrain’s SIS headquarters suggest the workplace of a hard-pressed civil servant rather than that of the secret policeman he is. His wife is his personal secretary, a woman in her mid-60s who, dressed in a brown one-piece suit – ‘like any English housewife’ as one ex-detainee described her – ushers prisoners into her husband’s office for interrogation. Sometimes Henderson prefers to meet important prisoners at the al-Hidd headquarters of the Bahraini Interior Ministry Special Forces whose all- Pakistani units smartly salute Henderson on his arrival and guard him during his daily swim near the BAHRAIN dry-dock complex. Sheikh Khalil Sultan, a prominent Shia clergyman now in exile, met Henderson 20 times last year during a series of negotiations that briefly halted the largely Shia insurrection against Sheikh Issa – talks which proved beyond doubt that the former colonial police officer plays a crucial personal role in dealing with opposition demands for the return of parliament and constitutional democracy to the emirate. Local newspaper photographs of Henderson – which never identify him by name – invariably show him next to the Interior Minister, Sheikh Mohamed al-Khalifa, and the ministry’s director of training, Colonel Hassan Issa al-Hassan.

Voice of Bahrain, May 1993 issue

Henderson: The British Quasi-Colonial Ruler of Bahrain

Many intellectual people would argue that we are currently living in the age of democracy and human rights. Furthermore, colonial rule as was practiced before the Second World War is over. However, ordinary people see things differently. Colonial rule does exist with different protocols. There is no doubt that Bahrain is an independent state. It is also a member of United Nation. It has a national flag, a national anthern, a national currency and many other national features. However, common people see at the core of every thing, there is a controlling factor. Any decision is valid as long as it is cleared by “al Dakhiliyah”, i.e. Interior Ministry. At the heart of the interior Ministry, there is a central command which has been chaired by British officers ever since its creation.

When its Director General (Mr. Jim Bill) retired in December 1992, a more notorious person was put in-charge, yes, as you may have guessed, it was: Ian Henderson. The conclusion arrived at by a common person can be corroborated by “intellectual” assessment as follows.

Henderson is a British officer. He has been in charge of intelligence service since 1966. British officially controlled Bahrain until 1971. In1956, The British army was deployed to suppress the national uprising, which started in 1954. The British then established the Special Branch (See Dr. M. Al-Rumeihi in his PhD Thesis on Bahrain). A state of emergency was declared and the then three leaders of the uprising were jailed in the British Island of St. Helena. The three were then released in 1961 and compensated after a labour MP had campaigned for them.

In 1965 another uprising was quelled by the Brithish army stationed in Bahrain. This time the British decided to strengthen the intelligence service. And in 1966, the security service was re-structured by installing Ian Henderson at the top of the organization to suppress any opposition to the feudal regime of Al Khalifa. Before then Ian Henderson had been in Kenya.

The Keesing’s Contemporary Archives No. 20333 (October 3-10.1964) provides a detailed account of an encounter between the then Kenyan Minister for home affairs and a group og British security officers, amongst them Mr. Ian Henderson. Extracts from the referenced archives are as follows:

“Mr. Oginga Odinga, the minister of Home Affairs, Declared Assistant Commissioner of Police Leslis Pridgeon a prohibited immigrant on July 1 and ordered him ro leave the country within 24 hours, no explanation of reason for this action being given other than that its was “in the interests of internal security.” Mr. Pridgeon had been in command of the police force which suppressed the Somali election riot at Isiols in May 1963 (see 19487 A). The British High Commissioner, Sir Geoffrey de Freitas, sent a strongly-worded protest against Mr. Pridgeon’s expulsion to Mr. Kenyatta on July 2. ” Mr. Odinga stated at a press conference on July 10 that Mr. Pridgeon’s expulsion was “the first set” in a “cleaning-out process designed to rid the country of ill-intentioned imperialist remnants,” by whom “a cloud of suspicion and rumours” had been “deliberately created to sow the seeds of discord within the Government by discrediting my standing in the political leadership”.

“Four other Britons, including Mr Ian Henderson, G,M., a retired Assistant Commissioner of police, who had captured the Mau Mau “Field-Marshal” Dedan Kimathi in 1956 (see 15638 A), were declared prohibited immigrants on Aug.5 and ordered to leave within 24 hours. After the British High Commissioner had failed to obtain an extension of the time limit for trhe deportees, both he and the governor-general, Mr. Malcolm MacDonald, Made representations on their hehalf to Mr.Kenyatta, while Sir Alec Douglas -Home Telegraphed the Prime Minister of Kenya in the matter without apparent avail”.

Another source of information continues the story. Janathan Block and Patrick Fitzgerald in their book “British intelligence and Covert Action” page 154 state: ” Shortly after independence Kenyatta let it be known that the British had refused to let him appoint Odinga as Finance Minister. Instead, he became Minster of Home Affairs, where he had to oversee the tricky process of pulling the rug out from under the regionally-biased independence constitution. He was also given the task of deporting a while police intelligence officer. Ian Henderson, a task which made him unpopular with the whit settlers. Henderson subsequently turned up in Bahrain where he devised and implemented the Gulf’s most elaborate and pervasive internal security system”. The Economist of 22 August 1987 described Henderson’s security service system as: “Bahrain’s efficient British-officered security force, which contrives to impose the strictest security in the nicest possible way”.. “Bahrain’s jails contain plenty of political prisoners”.. “A polite police state”.

The British Government has a formal response to any enquiry regarding Ian Henderson: Henderson and other Britons have not been seconded by HM Government. The night be technically true but not so from an historical point of view. Henderson was put in-charge of the intelligence service in 1966 when Britain controlled Bahrain. It might be said that : OK, that was in the sixties, But later on Henderson was responsible to the Al-Khalifa ruling family. The Bahraini public does not see the issue in this way. It is also immoral to say the least, when Britain raises the flag of freedom and democracy, while paying no attention to individuals who after all are British and were senior British officials some years age. Moreover, these are still British citizens and would be protected by HM Government if any happens to them. The people of Bahrain see Henderson and likes as instruments used by Al-Khalifa and Britain to succumb the country to the rule of a feudal regime for the gratification of ill individuals. The British Government has a moral obligation to prove that it is not implementing a double-standard policy regarding human rights and democracy.

 Henderson: Tortured the Mau Mau Activists before the Bahrainis

The Kenyan Connection

A lot has been said about Ian Henderson. His name has symbolised repression and atrocities since his appointment as Bahrain’s intelligence chief in 1966. He remains a mysterious individual, though, Bahrain’s opposition consider him, more or less, enemy number 1. Bahrainis know that Henderson was engaged in suppressing the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya, that he was expelled from there in 1964 after Kenya’s independence and that Britain installed him as head of Bahrain’s intelligence after quelling the workers and students uprising of 1965.

More about Henderson’s personality has been highlighted by the newly published book “MauMau and Kenya” by Wunyabari O. Maloba (Indiana University Press, 1993, ISBN 0-25333664-3). Maloba explains the background to the Mau Mau revolt starting from the period before British colonial rule when the Kikuyu people were involved in a southward expansion owning and utilising the land. British settlers started occupying land starting from 1900 after building the Uganda railway. The latter represented Britain’s commitment to securing a firm foothold in East African including the part that became to be called Kenya after 1920. Because Kenya and Uganda lacked minerals, the railway could be profitable only if it stimulated agricultural production. To this end the British (then controlling Kenya as protectorate) considered encouraging the Indians (then under the British rule) to colonize the land. Another British proposal was put to the Jews to migrate to Kenya and establish a Jewish state. However, the Zionist Congress voted to reject the proposal. The latter came after resistance from white settlers who argued that only Christians, and not Jews, were ideally suited to bring the benefits of Western civilization to Africans.

Africans would in the circumstances have to be controlled and disciplined. In the years ahead, up to 1923 and beyond, the white settlers agitated for self-rule in one form or another, and especially for severe legislation in dealing with Africans, such as the “Land Alienation Act” and “Land Ordinance” leasing the land to settlers for 99 and 999 years consequently. Land scarcity in Kikuyuland inevitably led to overutilization of land, which aggravated the agricultural and economic problems. An emotional issue around which many African protests revolved was competition intensity for land possession and utilization. The development of African nationalism up to 1939 was a series of protests against colonial policies. Manyofthose who protested and formed protest organizations wcre aware of the physical power of the state. Their objectives remained, therefore, modest requests for reform within the colonial system

Chapter 3 of Maloba book is titled “Years of Collision”, and it is from here onwards, Ian Henderson is mentioned in relation to suppression of the uprising. Henderson even wrote a book about his adventures titled “Man Hunt in Kenya” (published in New York: Doubleday, 1958). Maloba referred to Henderson’s book which he found to emphasize Henderson’s side of the story than provide a redaction of the facts.

In 1950, an important meeting of the influential Kenyan African Union (KAU) and trade union leaders recognised the immense potential for an oath as an in instrument for achieving unity and concerted action. In 1952, it was decided to expand oath-taking campaign to as many people as possible toc reate amass organisation. In his capacity as intelligence officer, Henderson embarked on recruiting Africans as informers. KAU found a member of the central committee to be a spy. The taxi driver, J. N. Mungai, who had been transporting KAU leaders confessed that: from 1944, he was helping Ian Henderson of CID with information to him concerning KAU leaders, which led to the arrest and deportation of Markham Singh. Henderson gave this spy Shs. 100 in order to meet Mau Mau oath fee. Some 400 Africans were arrested by Henderson group with the help of African informers.

During 1952, African nationalist movement acquired a lot of ammunition and the first groups of fighters were despatched to Aberdare Mountains and to Mount Kenya. WaruhiuItote, known as General China, went to Mount Kenya. Since 1953, there was a noticeable expansion of the Special Branch under the direction of British intelligence of finials.. Perpetual harassment and infiltration by trained spies and informers weakened the Mau Mau adherents. Then there were the dreaded screening teams (Hooded African informers) who parade randomly arrested Africans and point out Mau Mau activists. However, the turning point for Britain was the arrest in January 1954 of General China.

Ian Henderson interrogated General China for 68 hours. Henderson was born in Kenya and spoke Kikuyu language fluently. China broke down and gave Henderson detailed insight into Mau Mau organisation. Henderson managed to convince General China to arrange for peace talks between the government and the forces, which used to be under China’s cornmand. This attempt failed to cause the mass surrender sought by Henderson. During the lull (3 months) Henderson’s group gathered more information and arrested more than a thousand in Nairobi (Mau Mau reserves) in three days.

After 1955, the most effective method used by the government against Mau Mau was the “pseudo-gangs” composed of ex-African guerrillas, again under the supervision of Henderson. These were sent to the forest (without white supervision) and managed to kill their former comrades. These were released from capital punishment in return for going back against their people. Mau Mau casualties increased considerably in 1955, when two thousand guerrillas were still active in the mountains. The policy of food denial was tightened by requiring that cattle be kept in guarded enclosures during the night and prohibiting the peasant cultivation of food crops within three miles of the forest. Shortage of ammunition and lack of food considerably reduced the fighting capacity of the guerrillas, who were now hunted down deep in the forest. By 1956, British forces stated that 503 Mau Mau guerrillas were killed, 1,035 wounded, 1,550 captured in action, 26,625 arrested and 2,714 surrendered. Only 63 white re killed. Five hundred guerrillas remained fighting under Dedan Kimathi. Henderson made it known that the pressure will not be relaxed until the capture of Kimathi. On 21 October 1956, Henderson captured Kimathi and the British offensive came to an end.

Not surprising that when Kenya gained its dependence, the then (October 1964) Kenyan Sinister for Home Affairs, Mr. Oginga Odinga, declared Mr. Ian Henderson (with four other British security officers) as illegal immigrants and ordered them to leave Kenya within 24 hours. Soon afterwards, Britain (then controlling Bahrain) despatched Henderson in 1966 to re-structure the intelligence network following the uprising of 1965 (in Bahrain). Henderson lost no time in implementing his skills and expertise to suppress Bahrainis. All interrogation methods used to break down General China and other Mau Mau leaders were used. There is very close comparison to the methods used in interrogation and suppression, such as letting the imprisoned believe that security forces know every thing, the extensive use of African informers by threatening them with long term jails or execution if they didn’t cooperate, calling for peace with senior figures while arresting followers, use of screening teams and pseudo-gangs. (refer to Voice of Bahrain, May 1993, Issue No.17 for more information on Henderson).

From the “Voice of Bahrain” January 1994

January 1995

Henderson: A Symbol of Hate and Embarrassment

Ian Henderson is a symbol of hate in Bahrain and an embarrassment in London. The Times of 25 January 1995 wrote: “Lord Avebury, a leading human rights campaigner, is to propose amending a long-standing law preventing British citizens from enlisting in foreign armies so that British passport holders would also be forbidden to serve in foreign security forces. His move follows a letter he wrote to Douglas Hogg, the Minister of State at the Foreign Office, expressing concern at the employment by the Bahrain Government of Ian Henderson, a British citizen who holds a senior position in the country’s security apparatus. Lord Avebury said that the three Bahraini Shia dissidents, who recently applied for political asylum in Britain, had told him that some people in Bahrain thought that Mr. Henderson’s role meant that Britain supported the Bahrain Government.

“The presence of a British citizen in the top levels of another state’s security forces makes it seem as though we officially support their methods of dealing with dissent” he said.

Lord Avebury intends to consult legal experts in the House of Lords to see how the 1870 Foreign Enlistment Act can be broadened to include serving in foreign security services. In a letter to Douglas Hurd, Lord Avebury also asked the Foreign Secretary not to give in to pressure by Sheikh Muhammed al-Khalifa, the Foreign Minister, who arrives on Friday to discuss the three dissidents’ request for asylum. He asked Mr Hurd to point out to Sheikh al-Khalifa that, according to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Bahrain was in breach of its obligations under international law by expelling its own citizens. A decision on the three will be taken by the Home Office”.

The Guardian of 30 January wrote “The recent unrest in Bahrain has unexpectedly focused attention on a handful of British citizens who wield enormous influence behind the thrones of the ruling sheikhs in the Gulf…At last December’s demonstrations for democracy in Bahrain, a hate figure mentioned frequently in popular slogans was the chief adviser on security matters, Ian Henderson. For the past three decades, Mr Henderson has been a taboo subject. Now the opposition movement wants the former colonial to be asked to leave the island…In Bahrain, he created the Special Branch and is said to have played a key role in framing internment laws which allow the security forces to detain suspects for three years.

The Notices of Motions published by the British House of Commons on 25 January, circulated Motion No. 458 signed by 17 British MPs entitled “British Mercenaries in Bahrain”. The Motion stated: That this House expresses grave concern at the continuing savage repression against the demonstrators for democracy in Bahrain; is shocked at the presence of British hired mercenaries in the ranks of the security apparatus, SIS, of the Bahrain Royal dictatorship; in particular deplores the role of Mr Ian Henderson, the chief of the SIS and a British citizen who has presided over a service which has killed at least nine people under torture, illegally deported more that 1,000 Bahrainis, warned hundreds more not to return to the country and which has, since the most recent democratic upheaval last November, shot dead six demonstrators and arrested without charge, 1,500 more and now deported three leading opposition figures to London via Dubai; and calls upon Her Majesty’s Government to dissociate itself from the actions of British mercenaries in Bahrain, to demand respect for basic human rights in Bahrain and to support those struggling for the restoration of the constitution in Bahrain, the establishment of representative government there and an end to the massacre of democrats there”.

The Sunday Times of 5 February 1995 published an article by Jon Swain entitled “Gulf dissidents accuse colonial hero of torture” with new revelations about Ian Henderson. Many thousands copies of the article have been circulated by Bahrainis inside Bahrian:

At six in the morning, while Bahrain slumbers, Ian Henderson, the most powerful but elusive British citizen in the Gulf, is already up and about. He seldom varies his routine. Rising with the sun, he begins his day with coffee and a sharp bout of exercise. Then he settles down to his work: ensuring that law and order is maintained in the Gulf island state.

It is becoming a taxing job, as an increasingly restless opposition takes to the streets to demand democracy. It is hard to know, though, how this blue-blazered, balding colonial figure of 67 is bearing up: security-conscious to the degree that he is seldom seen in public, he almost never allows himself to be photographed; when he does, he invariable hides behind sunglasses.

“He is illusive like the Scarlet Pimpernel,” said a former diplomat stationed in Bahrain, “a man in the shadows whom we used to hear of but never saw”.

Not, perhaps, for a lot longer. Much as he would choose to avoid it, Bahrain’s recent spate of unrest has put Henderson back in the limelight for the first time since he won the George Medal nearly 40 years ago as a colonial police officer fighting the Mau Mau. Only this time he has become a hate figure, instead of the hero he was in pre-independence Kenya. He is under mounting pressure to retire and leave Bahrain for good. Old Kenya hands still recall how, alone and almost always unarmed, he made more than 60 trips into the forest to contact the Mau Mau terrorist leaders; Henderson captured Dedan Kemathi, a notorious chief later executed by the British.

He came to the Gulf in 1966, when the British installed him as head of Bahrain’s intelligence service after quelling a workers’ and students’ uprising the year before. Later, he was recruited by the Bahraini royal family and stayed on to become director-general of security, the key job in which he supervises the entire apparatus from intelligence gathering and Special Branch work to prisons, coastguards and traffic police.

The suppression of street demonstrations last year has made him the butt of anti-government slogans. Since the troubles broke out in December, at least six people -including a policeman- have died; 2,000 have been arrested and seven Shi’ite Muslim clerics have been expelled.

The troubles began with the arrest of Sheikh Ali Salman, a Shi’ite preacher who returned from religious studies in Iran to play a prominent part in gathering 25,000 si

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