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Former Hostage Says Husband Abused Her in Captivity

Canadian Joshua Boyle loses custody of children
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2018 2:06 AM CDT
Updated Sep 6, 2018 6:43 AM CDT
In this image from video released in December 2016, Caitlan Coleman talks in the video while Joshua Boyle holds their two children.   (Taliban Media via AP)
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(Newser) – Caitlan Coleman, the American woman held hostage in Afghanistan for 5 years, says her own husband made the ordeal much worse. In court papers obtained by the Ottawa Citizen, the 32-year-old Coleman says Joshua Boyle, her 34-year-old Canadian husband, became mentally and physically abusive, confining her to a shower stall for weeks at a time and once hitting her hard enough to break her cheekbone. Coleman, who gave birth to the couple's three children in captivity and is pregnant with their fourth, says she only agreed to go backpacking with Boyle in Central Asia after he promised they wouldn't go to Afghanistan. She was five months pregnant when they were kidnapped by Taliban-linked militants after taking a taxi from a Kabul guesthouse in October 2012.

Boyle gives a radically different account of their time in captivity in the court papers, which were filed as part of a custody battle in Canada, the Guardian reports. He admits hitting Coleman once, after she allegedly tried to overdose on medication, but he says he became the children's main caregiver after Coleman neglected them. He says he went without food so Coleman and the children could have more, whittled toys from wood, sewed clothes and blankets, and even caught mice for them to have as pets. The judge granted temporary custody to Coleman, who's now in Pennsylvania with the children, and banned Boyle from contacting them. "To say that the circumstances of this case are tragic in the extreme would be an understatement," the judge said. (The family was freed in a dramatic raid last year.)

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