Joshua Boyle, the Canadian man held hostage by Taliban-linked militants for nearly five years, briefly appeared in an Ottawa court via videolink on Wednesday after being arrested on more than a dozen charges including sexual assault, forcible confinement and uttering a death threat.
Boyle , along with his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, and their three young children, all of whom were born in captivity. The couple had been through a mountainous region of Afghanistan. Coleman was more than six months pregnant at the time.
Shortly after landing in Canada, Boyle, 34, and one of their children killed. The allegations were later denied by the Taliban.
This week, police in Ottawa laid 15 charges against Boyle, including eight counts of assault and two counts of sexual assault.
Canadian American family on surviving Taliban captivity: 'We tried to make it fun'
Boyle was also charged with one count of forcing an individual to ingest a noxious substance, described as an anti-depressant, and one count of misleading police, according to court documents. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
The incidents are alleged to have taken place in recent months, following the family’s return to . A publication ban prevents the alleged victims from being identified.
After a brief court appearance on New Year’s Day, Boyle remains in police custody. On Wednesday, he appeared in court for a few minutes by video in an orange jumpsuit and was told that his next court appearance would be early next week, in order to allow his lawyers to put together a bail plan.
“Mr Boyle is presumed innocent. He’s never been in trouble before,” his lawyer Eric Granger told the Guardian in an email. “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.”
When approached for comment, Boyle’s wife Coleman told the Toronto Star she could not discuss the charges, and she and the children were “healthy and holding up as well as we can”.
Coleman said 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.
She said it was “with compassion and forgiveness that I … hope help and healing can be found for him”.
At the time of Boyle’s arrest, the family was living in an apartment in Ottawa. The family was back in the headlines in December, after it emerged that they had met with Justin Trudeau at the prime minister’s office on Parliament Hill.
showed Trudeau holding the couple’s youngest child. that they had used the meeting to discuss the loss of their child in captivity as well as the Taliban-linked Haqqani Network.