A Canadian man held captive by a Taliban-linked group for five years was arrested Monday in Ottawa on charges of assault, sexual assault and unlawful confinement, among others, his lawyer told Canadian Press.
Joshua Boyle, 34, and wife Caitlan Coleman were abducted by the Taliban-linked Haqqani network in 2012 during a backpacking trip in Afghanistan. Pakistani forces freed the family, including the couple’s three children, during an October military raid, after which they returned to Canada.
According to the Toronto Star, Boyle now faces 15 charges in all, including eight counts of assault, two counts of sexual assault, two counts of unlawful confinement, one count of uttering death threats, one count of misleading the police and one count of causing someone to “take a noxious thing, namely Trazodone,” according to a court document.
The alleged incidents occurred between the time Boyle arrived in Canada on Oct. 14 and Dec. 30. A publication ban on information that could identify any alleged victims is currently in place, according to the BBC.
Boyle remains in police custody. His attorney, Eric Granger, told CTV News that he is set to appear in court on Wednesday.
“This is an individual obviously we all know has been through a lot, is an individual otherwise who hasn’t been in trouble before, and he’s presumed innocent of these charges,” Granger told the outlet.
“I can’t speak about 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,” Coleman, Boyle’s wife, said via a statement to the Star.
Coleman was rushed to the hospital on Oct. 17, but Boyle did not specify why in an email to The Associated Press at the time.
At a press conference upon their return, Boyle said he and his wife had been attempting to help villagers in remote parts of Afghanistan and referred to himself as a “pilgrim.” He told reporters that the Haqqani group had authorized the murder of one of the couple’s children and had brutally raped Coleman, and asked the Afghan government to bring his kidnappers to justice.
Boyle also said he and his family would focus on their lives in Canada.
“Obviously it will be of incredible importance to my family that we are able to build a secure sanctuary for our three surviving children, to call a home, to focus on edification and to try to regain some portion of the childhood…