Former Taliban hostage Joshua Boyle arrested for assault, other charges

Joshua Boyle was held captive by a faction of the Afghan Taliban for five years. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Web Team Montreal, Canada Jan 03, 2018, 02.26 AM (IST)

Canadian Joshua Boyle who was held captive by a faction of the Afghan Taliban for five years, has been arrested after being accused of sexual assault, illegal confinement and issuing death threats, media reports said on Tuesday.

Boyle's lawyer Eric Granger said his client was "presumed innocent" and had never been in legal trouble before. He said the identity of the alleged victim was being withheld by a court.

"We look forward to receiving the evidence and defending him against these charges," he said.

Boyle faces 15 charges including assault, sexual assault and unlawful confinement, Canadian media reported.

Boyle would appear before a court in Ottawa on Wednesday, his lawyer said.

Joshua Boyle, his American wife Caitlan Coleman and their three children born in captivity, were freed in October last year by Pakistani troops acting on US intelligence.

Boyle and Coleman were kidnapped by the Taliban while backpacking through Afghanistan in 2012. They were later transferred to the custody of the Haqqani faction, known for its alleged ties to the Pakistani military.

They were freed on October 12 but refused to board a US military plane. Boyle, a Muslim convert and long-time advocate of freed Guantanamo inmate Omar Khadr, cited fears over his background. He married Khadr's sister in 2009.

Upon his arrival in Toronto two days later Boyle accused his captors of raping his wife and killing his baby daughter, a fourth child -- allegations swiftly refuted by the Taliban's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. 

Mujahid admitted a baby had died but said it was a result of a natural miscarriage.

A month later, in an interview with ABC news, Coleman also spoke of a sexual "assault" by two of her captors.

(With inputs from AFP)