Ian Henderson (police officer)

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Ian Stuart McWalter Henderson[1] (alt. Ian Stewart McWalter Henderson,[2] Ian Stewart MacWalter Henderson[3]), CBE GM and bar (1927 – 13 April 2013[4]) was a British citizen known for his role in resolving the Mau Mau crisis in Kenya in the late 1950s and also for managing the Bahraini General Directorate for State Security Investigations from 1966-1998. Henderson was dubbed the Butcher of Bahrain due to the numerous human rights violations that were alleged to have taken place under his command there.[5][6]


Ian Henderson was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in 1927 but lived most of his life overseas.[7] He served as a Colonial Police Officer in Kenya during the 1950s and was famed for his role in capturing Mau Mau rebel leader Dedan Kimathi, which he wrote a book on, titled "The Hunt for Kimathi",[8] also published under the title "Man Hunt in Kenya" by Doubleday.[9] In 1954 Henderson was awarded the George Medal,[3] the highest award for bravery to non-military personnel, and later the Bar to the George Medal,[2] for suppressing the Mau Mau Uprising. "Ian Henderson has probably done more than any single individual to bring the Emergency to an end" wrote General Sir Gerald Lathbury when he left Kenya in 1957.[10]

After independence, he was deported from Kenya and moved to Bahrain. He was employed as the head of the General Directorate for State Security Investigations in Bahrain for some 30 years, retiring from his position in February 1998.[11] He was accused of complicity in torture during the period of protracted social unrest that Bahrain experienced in the mid to late 1990s, leading to an investigation by British authorities in 2000.[12] The investigation was concluded in August 2001 and no charges were filed.[13] He always denied any involvement in torture.[7]

Ian Henderson was honoured by Queen Elizabeth II with the CBE (1984),[1] George Medal (1954)[3] (and Bar (1955))[2] and the King's Police and Fire Services Medal (1953).[14] He was honoured by Government of Bahrain with The Order of Shaikh ‘Isa bin Salman al-Khalifa (Wisam al-Shaikh ‘Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa) Exceptional Class (2000),[15] The Order of Bahrain (Wisam al-Bahrein) 1st Class (1983)[16] and The Medal of Military Merit (Wissam al-Khidmat al-Askari) 1st Class (1982).[17][18]


Ian Henderson died on 13 April 2013 at the age of 86.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Supplement To The London Gazette". The London Gazette. 31 December 1984.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Supplement To The London Gazette". The London Gazette. 23 September 1955.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Second Supplement To The London Gazette". The London Gazette. 24 September 1954.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Obituaries: Ian Henderson". The Telegraph. 22 April 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Merrill, Jamie (2015-03-10). "Government refuses to release details of relationship with authoritarian Bahrain". The Independent. Retrieved 2015-05-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Greenwald, Glenn (2015-05-21). "In the Same Week, the U.S. and U.K. Hide Their War Crimes by Invoking "National Security"". The Intercept. Retrieved 2015-05-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 "UK probes Bahrain torture claims". BBC News. 7 January 2000.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Henderson, Ian; Philip Goodhart (1958). The Hunt for Kimathi. Hamish Hamilton.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Book review of Man Hunt in Kenya". CIA. 22 September 1993.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Henderson, Ian; Philip Goodhart (1958). The Hunt for Kimathi. Hamish Hamilton. p. 267.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "New security chief appointed in Bahrain". BBC News. 20 February 1998.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "United Kingdom: Amnesty International welcomes investigation into Henderson's role in torture in Bahrain" (PDF). Amnesty International. 7 January 2000.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Is the UK facing up to Bahrain's past?". BBC News. 16 April 2003.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Supplement To The London Gazette". The London Gazette. 26 May 1953.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Amiri Decree No 11 of the Year 2000", Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Bahrain, 15 March 2000<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Amiri Decree No 3 of the Year 1983", Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Bahrain<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Amiri Decree No 1 of the Year 1982", Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Bahrain, 16 January 1982<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Bahrain: Orders and Decorations". The Royal Ark.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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