Joshua Boyle speaks to the media after arriving at the Pearson International Airport in Toronto. A lawyer for Boyle, a Canadian man recently freed with his American wife and children after years of being held hostage in Afghanistan, says his client has been arrested and faces at least a dozen charges including sexual assault. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Ex-hostage Joshua Boyle arrested, charged with sex assault, forcible confinement

A Canadian man recently freed with his wife and young children after years of being held hostage in Afghanistan has been charged with at least a dozen offences, including sexual assault, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Joshua Boyle, 34, was arrested in Ottawa, his lawyer, Eric Granger, told The Canadian Press.

Ottawa police declined to provide any details on the case.

Boyle and his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, were taken hostage in 2012 by a Taliban-linked group while on a backpacking trip in Afghanistan. Coleman was pregnant at the time and the couple had three children in captivity.

Granger said the charges against Boyle also include assault and forcible confinement.

“He’s never been in trouble before,” Granger said. “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.”

Granger said his client is “coping.”

“He’s as OK as anyone is who is suddenly and unexpectedly facing charges for the first time,” he said.

A publication ban bars any information that could identify the alleged victims or witnesses in the case.

Boyle has said the couple was helping ordinary villagers in a Taliban-controlled area of Afghanistan when they were seized. He told The Canadian Press that conditions during their five-year ordeal changed over time as the family was shuffled among at least three prisons.

He described the first as “remarkably barbaric,” the second as more comfortable and the third as a place of violence in which he and his wife were frequently separated and beaten.

Boyle said their captors from the Taliban-linked Haqqani network raped his wife and had also caused her to suffer a miscarriage. Shortly after landing in Toronto after being rescued, he demanded that his kidnappers be brought to justice.

In an interview with ABC NEWS, Coleman, who is from Stewartstown, Pa., recalled that guards dragged her husband from their cell, and one of them threw her on the ground, shouting, “I will kill you, I will kill you” before assaulting her.

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

The couple and their children had gone to Boyle’s parents home in Smiths Falls, Ont., after being rescued.

Photographs from a Twitter account called “The Boyle Family” show pictures of the Boyles meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in December.

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