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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Former Taliban hostage Boyle arrested for 15 charges including assault

The identity of the alleged victim was being withheld by a court

Joshua Boyle gets a police escort after speaking to the media after arriving at the airport in Toronto in October 2017. Mr Boyle has been arrested on 15 charges including sexual assault, illegal confinement and issuing death threats. Nathan Denette / The Canadian Press via AP
Joshua Boyle gets a police escort after speaking to the media after arriving at the airport in Toronto in October 2017. Mr Boyle has been arrested on 15 charges including sexual assault, illegal confinement and issuing death threats. Nathan Denette / The Canadian Press via AP

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 was freed 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 Mr Boyle's lawyer Eric Granger.

Mr 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 that Mr Boyle would appear before a court in Ottawa on Wednesday.

According to news channel CTV, Mr 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.

Mr Boyle and Ms 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. Mr 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 Mr 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 Ms Coleman also spoke of a sexual "assault" by two of her captors in an interview with ABC news.

Boyle has been an outspoken advocate for Omar Khadr, a Canadian captured at the age of 15 in 2002 in Afghanistan and held at Guantanamo Bay before being transferred to Canada and later released.

He married Mr Khadr's sister in 2009, before meeting Ms Coleman online and marrying her in 2011.

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.

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Read more:

Family held by Afghan Taliban were kept in Pakistan, CIA chief says

Man says child killed, wife raped during Afghan kidnapping

North American family kidnapped by Afghan Taliban freed: Pakistan army

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