Former hostage charged with sexual assault and confinement

Erika Holt
January 13, 2018

The man who was held hostage in Afghanistan with his family has been arrested on charges of sexual assault and more just three months after being freed.

His wife, who gave birth to all three of their children in captivity, told The Toronto Star she blamed "the strain and trauma he was forced to endure for so many years and the effects that that had on his mental state" for her husband's alleged actions.

Joshua Boyle, 34, faces 15 charges linked to incidents alleged to have occurred since the family returned to Canada in October. However, now he is making headlines again for getting arrested in Ottawa for 15 charges including assault.

According to documents cited by CBC News, there are two alleged victims, though their identities are protected by a publication ban.

A hearing on the case is scheduled for Wednesday (local time) in Ottawa, but Mr Boyle's lawyer Eric Granger said in an email that his client would not attend in person.

Boyle's past associations, pronouncements and his stated reasons for taking his pregnant wife to a Taliban-controlled war zone in Afghanistan - on a backpacking trip - should have raised concern. 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.

The Boyle family became the subject of worldwide headlines last fall after a daring rescue mission freed them from captivity in Pakistan.

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Details of their harrowing detention made headlines worldwide.

"The Prime Minister did meet with the Boyles earlier this week, and like all Canadians, we are relieved that their bad ordeal is over and they are back home safely", a statement from the prime minister's office said at the time.

After his return, Boyle told CNN's Paula Newton the family was doing as well as could be expected.

She also said their captors beat their eldest son with a stick.

The couple and their children went Boyle's parents home in Smiths Falls, Ont., after being rescued, but had been living in an Ottawa apartment recently.

Trudeau also met with Boyle and his family in his Parliament Hill office in mid-December. The family ended up boarding a flight from Islamabad to London, and then flew on to Canada.

Boyle's minutes-long appearance on Wednesday morning was made by video from the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, where he is now in police custody. He declined to comment further.

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