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Freed Taliban hostage Joshua Boyle arrested for sexual assault

© Mike Carrocetto, AFP | Joshua Boyle outside the Boyle family home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, October 14 2017.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2018-01-03

A Canadian man who was held captive by a faction of the Afghan Taliban for five years has been arrested on 15 charges including sexual assault, illegal confinement and issuing death threats, according to reports on Tuesday.

Joshua Boyle, 34, was freed by the Taliban last October along with his American wife Caitlan Coleman and their three children born in captivity.

The identity of the alleged victim was being withheld by a court, according to Boyle’s lawyer Eric Granger.

Granger added his client was “presumed innocent” and had never been in any form of legal trouble before.

“We look forward to receiving the evidence and defending him against these charges,” he said, adding Boyle would appear before a court in Ottawa on Wednesday.

According to news channel CTV, Boyle is facing eight counts of assault, two counts of sexual assault and two counts of unlawful confinement, as well as one each of misleading police to “divert suspicion from himself,” uttering a death threat, and administering a noxious substance, Trazodone.

'Strain and trauma'

In a statement to The Toronto Star and published on the newspaper’s website, Boyle’s wife would not comment on the specific charges “but I can say that ultimately it is the strain and trauma he was forced to endure for so many years and the effects that that had on his mental state that is most culpable for this.”

She said “with compassion and forgiveness that I... hope help and healing can be found for him.”

Coleman added that she and the children were healthy.

The couple have been living in Canada since their rescue. They met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in December.

Boyle and Coleman, who have been married since 2011, were kidnapped by the Taliban during what they described as a backpacking trip through war-torn Afghanistan in 2012, and were later transferred to the custody of the Haqqani faction, known for its alleged ties to the Pakistani military.

They were freed on October 12, but refused to board a US military plane. Boyle, a Muslim convert and long-time advocate of freed Guantanamo inmate Omar Khadr, cited fears over his background.

Upon his arrival in Toronto two days later Boyle accused his captors of raping his wife and killing his baby daughter, a fourth child allegations swiftly refuted by the Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

Mujahid admitted a baby had died but said it was a result of a natural miscarriage.

A month later Coleman also spoke of a sexual “assault” by two of her captors in an interview with ABC news.

Pakistan’s military says the family was freed in a daring rescue operation.

But some US and Canadian officials have questioned that account, suggesting to news outlets it may have involved a “negotiated handover” with the Haqqani network which Islamabad is said to covertly back.

Boyle is scheduled to appear in court January 3.

(AFP)

Date created : 2018-01-03

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