Wednesday 21 February 2018

Canadian previously held hostage in Afghanistan with his wife and three children is charged with sexual assault

Freed Canadian hostage faces assault charges -lawyer

A still image from a video posted by the Taliban on social media on December 19, 2016 shows American Caitlan Coleman (L) speaking next to her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle and their two sons. REUTERS
A still image from a video posted by the Taliban on social media on December 19, 2016 shows American Caitlan Coleman (L) speaking next to her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle and their two sons. REUTERS

David Ljunggren

A CANADIAN man freed in 2017 nearly five years after being abducted in Afghanistan has been arrested in Ottawa and faces several charges, including assault and forcible confinement, his lawyer said.

Joshua Boyle, his wife Caitlin Coleman and three children arrived back in Canada last October. At the time he said one of his children had been murdered and spouse was raped after their capture by the Taliban-allied Haqqani network.

Joshua Boyle and one of his kids play in the garden at his parents house
Joshua Boyle and one of his kids play in the garden at his parents house

Police have laid 15 charges against Boyle, 34, including eight counts of assault, two counts of sexual assault, two counts of forcible confinement and one count of uttering death threats.

A publication ban has been imposed, preventing the alleged victims from being identified.

"Mr. Boyle is presumed innocent. He's never been in trouble before ... We look forward to receiving the evidence and defending him against these charges," Boyle's lawyer, Eric Granger, said in an email.

Ottawa police laid the charges on Dec. 30, since when Boyle has been in jail. He is due to make a brief court appearance on Wednesday.

Joshua Boyle speaks to the media after arriving at the Pearson International Airport in Toronto. (AP)
Joshua Boyle speaks to the media after arriving at the Pearson International Airport in Toronto. (AP)

Ottawa police declined to comment and referred questions to the attorney general of Ontario, which was not immediately able to comment.

Boyle, his wife and their three children met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his Parliament Hill office last month. Photos that Boyle released at the time on Twitter showed Trudeau holding the youngest child in his lap.

Trudeau had said in September he could not imagine what the family were going through. The Taliban denied the accusations of rape and murder.

Boyle and Coleman were kidnapped in 2012 while backpacking in Afghanistan and their children were born in captivity. U.S. officials say the family spent almost all their confinement in neighboring Pakistan, which is where they were freed by Pakistani troops

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