Toronto man held by Taliban recovering after ordeal, Trudeau says

An Ontario man freed by the Taliban after being held hostage for five years has yet to return to Canada but is recovering from his ordeal, the prime minister said Wednesday.

TORONTO — An Ontario man freed by the Taliban after being held hostage for five years has yet to return to Canada but is recovering from his ordeal, the prime minister said Wednesday.

Justin Trudeau’s comments about Colin Rutherford offered a hint at the condition of the man who was abruptly set free in Afghanistan earlier this week.

“We are continuing to monitor his recovery,” Trudeau told reporters while visiting city hall in Toronto. “Obviously a very difficult ordeal for five years. We look forward to him returning to Canada soon.”

The Taliban has said it freed Rutherford on Monday “on grounds of humanitarian sympathy and sublime Islamic ethics.”

The federal government hasn’t said where Rutherford is currently, or when he’ll return to his family in Toronto.

Rutherford was on a private vacation in Afghanistan when he was captured by the Taliban in November 2010.

His release was suddenly announced on Monday by Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion, who provided few details, but said that the government of Qatar had been involved in bringing about Rutherford’s release.

Trudeau publicly acknowledged the role of the Middle Eastern country when discussing Rutherford’s case on Wednesday.

“We appreciate the support that the government of Qatar gave,” he said. “Everyone worked hard to try and secure Mr. Rutherford’s release.”

The Taliban has also confirmed Qatar’s involvement and has said it had been holding Rutherford in Afghanistan’s northeastern Ghazni province.

A local Afghan police chief has said the Canadian’s release involved a helicopter landing to scoop Rutherford to freedom as fighter jets flew overhead.

The last indication Rutherford’s family had that he was alive came in a 2011 video released by insurgents where he answered questions. An accompanying email accused Rutherford, then 26, of being a spy.

In the video, Rutherford, who is from Toronto, insisted he was not a spy and had travelled to Afghanistan to study historical sites, old buildings and shrines.

Rutherford’s brother has called the Canadian’s release “incredible news” and has said Rutherford’s well-being is a priority.

Rutherford was working as an auditor with the Canadian Circulations Audit Board in Toronto when he went on vacation to Afghanistan.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

The Red Deer College Queens hosted the Olds College Broncos at the… Continue reading

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

‘Stupid’ law preventing Canada’s re-engagement with Iran: retired envoy

OTTAWA — The real reason the Liberal government hasn’t been able to… Continue reading

Voters head to polls for BC municipal elections today

VANCOUVER — Voters in British Columbia will head to the polls today… Continue reading

All sharks tagged in N.S. expedition can now be tracked on Ocearch website

HALIFAX — All six of the sharks tagged in Nova Scotian waters… Continue reading

Memorial service for former PQ minister Lise Payette today in Montreal

MONTREAL — Mourners will gather to remember former Parti Quebecois cabinet minister… Continue reading

Immunotherapy scores a first win against some breast cancers

For the first time, one of the new immunotherapy drugs has shown… Continue reading

‘Mom I’m in trouble:’ Canadian, Brit face 10 years in jail for alleged graffiti

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — The mother of a Canadian who was arrested… Continue reading

Coyote on the prowl near Penhold

This coyote was out on the prowl in a field just west… Continue reading

Most Read