The man held hostage with his family by the Taliban for 5 years faces 15 criminal charges after his return to Canada

  • Joshua Boyle, who was freed with his family from years-long Taliban captivity in October, was arrested Monday and faces 15 criminal charges in Canada.
  • He is accused of assault, sexual assault, unlawful confinement, among other offenses.
  • Boyle’s American wife, Caitlan Coleman, told Canadian media that his alleged crimes were ultimately a result of the trauma he experienced in captivity.

The Canadian man formerly held hostage in Afghanistan with his family for five years by Taliban-linked militants was arrested and charged in a Canadian court on Monday with 15 offenses, including assault, sexual assault, and unlawful confinement.

Joshua Boyle, 34, his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and their three young children born in captivity were rescued in October by Pakistani security forces following a bloody shootout that left five of their Haqqani network captors dead.

The charges Boyle faces include eight counts of assault, two counts of sexual assault, two counts of unlawful confinement, one count of uttering death threats, one count of causing someone to “take a noxious thing,” and one count of misleading police, according to court documents obtained by Canadian media.

Each of the offenses police accuse Boyle of committing occurred after the family’s return to Canada in October. A court-imposed publication ban prevents any of the alleged victims from being identified.

Coleman said in a statement to the Toronto Star that Boyle’s alleged actions were largely the result of trauma he had experienced in captivity. She said she couldn’t speak about the specific charges, however.

“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,” she said.

“Obviously, he is responsible for his own actions,” she continued, “but it is with compassion and forgiveness that I say I hope help and healing can be found for him.”

Boyle’s brother Dan also told the Star on Tuesday that his family wants Boyle to receive mental health treatment. He added that Coleman and the couple’s children are doing fine despite the “hell” they endured for years.

Boyle and Coleman’s rescue made international headlines several months ago after their dramatic rescue and descriptions of the “Kafkaesque nightmare” they endured in captivity. Coleman said she had been raped by her captors, held in an underground prison, and given a forced abortion.

Boyle had also prompted some criticism upon the family’s release after he refused to have his family board a US transport plane that American officials had arranged for the family.

Boyle remains in police custody and will appear in an Ottawa court on Wednesday, the Star reported. His lawyer told the newspaper that he is “eager to see” the evidence against Boyle.

“Mr. Boyle is a young man who we all know has been through a lot. He has never been in trouble with the law,” the lawyer, Eric Granger, told the Star in an email.

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