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Former Taliban hostage Joshua Boyle arrested in Canada

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Former Taliban hostage Joshua Boyle arrested in Canada

Former Taliban hostage Joshua Boyle arrested in Canada
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A Canadian former hostage of a Taliban-linked group has been arrested in Ottawa.

Joshua Boyle faces 15 charges, including sexual assualt, forcible confinement and uttering death threats. Boyle is also accused of forcing someone to take a "noxious substance," namely the antidepressant Trazodone, and misleading police.

Boyle, his American wife Caitlan Coleman and their children were rescued last October in Afghanistan, five years after being abducted while on a backpacking trip.

The three children, aged between six months and 4 years old, were born in captivity. Boyle has said that a fourth child was killed by their captors. A spokesperson for the Taliban-linked Haqqani network has denied the accusation.

Boyle, 34, appeared in an Ottawa court on New Year's Day and remains in police custody. A further hearing on the case is scheduled in for January 3. Boyle's attorney, Eric Granger, said his client will not appear in person.

"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. We look forward to receiving the evidence and defending him against these charges," Granger said in an email to AFP.

A court order bars the media from reporting information that could identify the alleged victims in the case.

In a statement to the Canadian newspaper The Toronto Star, Coleman said: "Ultimately it is the strain and trauma [Boyle] was forced to endure for so many years and the effects that that had on his mental state that is most culpable for this...it is with compassion and forgiveness that I say I hope help and healing can be found for him."

Coleman said that she and her children were healthy and "holding up".

According to court documents, all the alleged offences took place in Ottawa between Oct. 14 and Dec. 30.