• September 24, 2020

When the government of Bahrain were looking to improve their human rights image and the performance of the Bahrain Police they turned to among others the PSNI – it didn’t work.

The Bahrain Police had one of the bloodiest records of Police Services in a region not noted for the ‘community policing ethic’. When Ian Henderson (aka ‘The Butcher of Bahrain’ ) was kicked out of post independent Kenya he fled to Bahrain. Henderson had presided over numerous atrocities including torture and murder in Colonial Kenya the horror of the system he worked bizarrely became apparent just months after his death when the UK government paid compensation to victims in a multi million pound settlement. Women detainees had been raped by having broken bottles thrust into their vagina. Man had been castrated with pliers. The victims got a few thousand in compensation. Meanwhile Henderson got the George Medal from the Queen of England – which speaks volumes about her!

Coming from this background Henderson was the ideal man for Bahrain and immediately turned its police and security forces into a watchword for bestial behaviour in the Arab World. After Henderson left and with pro-democracy movements sweeping the Middle east. The government of Bahrain decided it needed to ‘reform’ and turned to several police forces in Britain and the PSNI for instruction. That was a big mistake because when torture was the norm in Bahrain in the 1980s so it was in N Ireland at that time polices by the Royal Ulster Constabulary the precursor of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

So did things change? Not according to this article for ‘Declassified’ by a Bahraini researcher and Human Rights campaigner which chronicles the whole saga:


Image: Bahrain police practicing community policing as pro democracy riots swept the Middle East – apparently despite reforms nothing has changed.

Related document 1: (US State Department Human Rights Report 2019 documents continuing allegations of illtreatment and torture despite the ‘reforming influences’ of amongst other the PSNI)


Relate document 2; ( When PSNI – Bahrain links were exposed by ‘Reprieve’ the Belfast ‘Torygraph’ provided a platform for Northern Ireland senior ‘plod’ to say, ‘It wasn’t us guv’)


Bernard Moffatt

Assistant General Secretary Celtic League (22 September 2020)

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