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Freed Taliban hostage faces assault charges in Canada 

Ottawa, Jan 3 (IANS) A Canadian man who was held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan for five years with his wife, has been arrested after he was charged with 15 criminal offences, according to his lawyer.

Joshua Boyle and his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, returned to Canada in October 2017 with their three children, reports CNN. 

The charges were in connection with incidents alleged to have occurred since the family’s arrival in Canada.

As of Tuesday, Boyle remained in police custody. He is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning in Ottawa via video conference.

According to Canadian media reports, the charges comprise eight counts of assault; two counts of sexual assault; two counts of unlawful confinement; one count of uttering death threats; one count of causing someone to take a noxious substance; and one count of misleading police.

Boyle’s attorney Eric Granger told CNN that he has not seen the evidence against his client, “which is typical at this early stage”. 

He pointed out two publication bans in place: one against reporting information disclosed in bail proceedings, and another on information that would identify potential victims or witnesses.

“We look forward to receiving the evidence and defending him against these charges,” Granger told CNN, noting his client is presumed innocent and has never been in trouble before.

The couple was kidnapped in Afghanistan by terrorists from the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani Network in 2012. 

Coleman was pregnant and the couple had two more children during their five years in captivity. 

The couple and their children were freed in a mission carried out by Pakistani forces based on intelligence from US authorities.

Upon arriving at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport in October, Boyle told reporters his captors authorised the killing of one of his children and raped his wife, CNN reported. 

He did not say whether the militants killed a child, only that his captors were responsible for “authorizing the murder” of his infant daughter. 

Sources close to the family said Boyle alluded to at least one forced abortion while in captivity.

The couple met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in December and shared images from the visit from their Twitter account, the Boyle Family.

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