Ex-Taliban hostage Joshua Boyle held over sexual assault

Canadian man, his wife and children recently rescued from Pakistan after almost five years

Joshua Boyle, a Canadian man held by Taliban-linked militants for nearly five years, has been arrested in Ottawa and is facing more than a dozen charges. File photograph: Mark Blinch/Reuters.

Joshua Boyle, a Canadian man held by Taliban-linked militants for nearly five years, has been arrested in Ottawa and is facing more than a dozen charges. File photograph: Mark Blinch/Reuters.

 

A Canadian man held hostage by Taliban-linked militants for nearly five years has been arrested in Ottawa and is facing more than a dozen charges including sexual assault, forcible confinement and uttering death threats.

Joshua Boyle was rescued in late 2017 in Pakistan, along with his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and their three young children, all of whom were born in captivity.

The couple were abducted while travelling through a mountainous region of Afghanistan. Ms Coleman was more than six months pregnant at the time.

Shortly after landing in Canada, Mr Boyle (34) told reporters that his wife had been raped and one of their children was killed. The allegations were later denied by the Taliban.

This week police in Ottawa laid 15 charges against Mr Boyle, including eight counts of assault, two counts of sexual assault, two counts of unlawful confinement and one count of uttering death threats.

Mr Boyle was also charged with one count of forcing an individual to ingest a noxious substance, described as an anti-depressant, and one count of misleading police, according to court documents cited by the Toronto Star. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

The incidents are alleged to have taken place in recent months, following the family’s return to Canada.

Court appearance

After a brief court appearance on New Year’s Day, Mr Boyle remains in police custody. He was not expected to attend a court proceeding scheduled for Wednesday, his lawyer Eric Granger said.

“Mr Boyle is presumed innocent. He’s never been in trouble before,” Mr Granger said in an email. “No evidence has been provided yet, which is typical at this early stage. We look forward to receiving the evidence and defending him against these charges.”

When approached for comment, Mr Boyle’s wife said she could not discuss the charges, and she and the children were “healthy and holding up as well as we can”.

At the time of Mr Boyle’s arrest, the family was living in an apartment in Ottawa. The family was back in the headlines in December, after it emerged that they had met Justin Trudeau at the prime minister’s office on Parliament Hill.

Photos published on social media showed Mr Trudeau holding the couple’s youngest child.

The family said on social media that they had used the meeting to discuss the loss of their child in captivity as well as the Taliban-linked Haqqani Network. - Guardian