Freed Taliban hostage appears in court to face sexual assault charges

OTTAWA, CANADA — The CBC reports Joshua Boyle, the Canadian who was held captive for five years with his wife and children by the Taliban in Afghanistan, made a brief court appearance via video link Wednesday morning in Ottawa on more than a dozen criminal charges. While Boyle confirmed his name, and had his next court appearance scheduled for Monday, January 8th, he did not enter a plea to criminal charges of assault, sexual assault and forcible confinement. Court records show there are two alleged victims, but their identities are being protected by a publication ban.

According to court documents, Boyle’s charges include:

– Seven counts of assault, two counts of sexual assault, two counts of unlawful confinement, one count of causing a victim to take a noxious substance, and one count of uttering a death threat — all against one alleged victim;

– A separate count of assault against a second alleged victim;

– One count of misleading police.

The court documents identify the noxious substance as trazodone, an antidepressant.

Boyle’s alleged crimes are said to have happened between October 14 — the day after his family returned to Canada — and December 30, according to the court documents.

Boyle, his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, from Stewartstown, York County, and their three children were freed in October by Pakistani forces acting on intelligence from US authorities.

The couple was held for five years by the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network in Afghanistan after their kidnapping in 2012. Coleman was pregnant at the time of their kidnapping, and all their children were born during their time in captivity.

Boyle said his wife was raped by a guard who was assisted by his superiors.

Boyle said he had been in Afghanistan “helping the most neglected minority group in the world, those ordinary villagers that live deep inside Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, where no NGO, no aid worker and no government has ever successfully been able to bring the necessary help.”

A senior official had said Boyle refused to board an American military plane after his rescue over concerns he could face arrest. Boyle said his family had been delayed due to a medical emergency surrounding one of his children.

Boyle was previously married to the sister of Omar Kadhr, a Canadian imprisoned for 10 years at the US detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after fighting US troops in Afghanistan.