The veteran photographer sustained injuries and bruises on his neck and hands when police officers manhandled him while being escorted to the cells following an order by the station’s OCS.
Ochieng was apprehended for taking photographs of a police vehicle that was escorting persons nabbed peddling cannabis, with the OCS stating that such activities around the station were prohibited.
According to Chepkwony, they had received information that a number of people had been captured by police for selling marijuana and that they had rushed to the station to gather more information.
When they finished setting up their equipment, the OCS ordered that they be apprehended immediately, claiming that taking photographs at the station was outlawed.
“We were doing our work as usual when the OCS ordered we get apprehended for taking photos at the station. I managed to escape from their grasp but they took my camera and my colleague was taken to the cells,” stated Chepkwony.
Uasin Gishu Journalists Association members swung to action after learning that their colleague was in police custody. They confronted the OCS who later released him.
However, attempts to have the confiscated cameras and other equipment returned to the owners bore no fruits with the association members camping outside the police station.
Chepkwony stated that they camped at the station to protest against the infringement of their freedom by the officers.
“We have managed to have Ochieng get treatment and fill a P3 form before recording a statement. The police actions were not warranted at all and we will do all it takes to ensure press freedom is guaranteed," stated one of the journalists at the station.
Cases of journalists being attacked or apprehended by the law enforcement officers while in line of duty have been on the rise with the Media Council of Kenya warning that such moves were detrimental to media freedom.
In April 2021, police apprehended nine journalists from various media houses for covering evictions in Mbeere, Embu County.
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