US & Canada

Freed hostage Joshua Boyle faces 15 criminal charges

Joshua Boyle speaks to the media after arriving with his wife and three children at Toronto Pearson International Airport, Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Joshua Boyle is facing 15 criminal charges

A Canadian man who was held hostage for five years by a Taliban-linked insurgent group has been arrested.

Joshua Boyle, 34, is facing a total of 15 charges including assault and unlawful confinement.

There is a publication ban on any information that would identify any alleged victim or witness.

Mr Boyle appeared in court on Wednesday in Ottawa via video link and remains in custody.

He is next due in court on 8 January.

Pakistani soldiers rescued Mr Boyle, his US wife, Caitlan Coleman, and their children in October.

The couple were kidnapped in Afghanistan in 2012 and had three children while in captivity.

Canadian media said the offences were alleged to have happened since Mr Boyle's return to Ottawa.

He faces eight assault charges, two sexual assault charges, two unlawful confinement charges, one count of misleading police, uttering death threats and causing someone to take a noxious substance.

"Mr Boyle is presumed innocent," his lawyer Eric Granger said in an email to the BBC.

"He's never been in trouble before. 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."

Canadian reports said the alleged offences took place between 14 October and 30 December.

The couple were kidnapped while backpacking in Afghanistan in 2012 by the Taliban-aligned Haqqani network.

After their release, Mr Boyle told the media that their captors had killed a fourth child and said they had raped his wife.

The couple have been living in Canada since their rescue.

In December, the family met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and images of the meeting were shared on the Boyle's Twitter account.

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