By Michael Hernandez
A Canadian man recently freed after being held captive for five years by Taliban-linked militants has been charged with 15 criminal offenses in an Ottawa, Canada court, media reports said Tuesday.
Joshua Boyle was freed by Pakistani forces acting on U.S.-supplied intelligence in October. The offenses -- including sexual assault and death threats -- allegedly took place following his return to Canada with his family, who were also held hostage by the extremist group.
Multiple Canadian media outlets reported on the charges, which court documents say took place between Oct. 14 and Dec. 30, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). He faces eight counts of assault, two counts of sexual assault, two counts of unlawful confinement and one count each of uttering threats, public mischief and administering a noxious drug.
There are two alleged victims, the Canadian public broadcaster reported, citing court documents. A court order prevents their identities from being made public.
Boyle is scheduled to appear in court via video link Wednesday morning after making an initial appearance on New Year's Day. His lawyer, Eric Granger, told the CBC that Boyle has never run afoul of the law before and that no evidence has been made available yet.
"Mr. Boyle is presumed innocent. He's never been in trouble before. No evidence has been provided yet, which is typical at this early stage," Granger wrote in an email to the CBC. "We look forward to receiving the evidence and defending him against these charges."
Boyle, a convert to Islam, was kidnapped along with his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, while backpacking in Afghanistan in 2012. Coleman gave birth to at least three children while in captivity.
Boyle claimed that the Taliban-linked captors killed a fourth child, an infant daughter, and repeatedly raped his wife.
In an email to the Canadian newspaper the Toronto Star, Coleman said she “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".
“Obviously, he is responsible for his own actions,” she wrote, “but it is with compassion and forgiveness that I say I hope help and healing can be found for him. As to the rest of us, myself and the children, we are healthy and holding up as well as we can.”