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US woman ex-husband's abuse was 'just like captors'


IANS Ottawa
A US woman who was kidnapped with her former husband in Afghanistan told a Canadian court that he was controlling and violent towards her before, during and after their five-year hostage ordeal.
Caitlan Coleman, 33, gave testimony for a second day on Friday at the trial of her ex-husband Joshua Boyle, 35 who faces 19 criminal charges, including sexual assault, unlawful confinement and uttering death threats, reports the Guardian.
Coleman was pregnant when she and Boyle were kidnapped by the Haqqani Network terror group while backpacking in Afghanistan in 2011. They spent five years as hostages, and had three children together before they were rescued by the Pakistani military.
Coleman testified that during their captivity, Boyle dictated all aspects of her life.
His behaviour "was just like my captors", she told the court.
"I was never to disagree with him, even on small things," she told the court. "In the past, he made it clear he didn't feel any guilt hurting me."
Coleman, who travelled from Pennsylvania where she currently lives with her family, spoke through video link in an adjoining room in order to avoid being in the same room as Boyle.
Coleman described a pattern of abusive behaviour that culminated in a vicious assault after the couple had returned to Canada.
She told the court she felt "very, very frightened" during the November 27 incident.
In her previous testimony, Coleman had described a "roller- coaster" relationship with Boyle, whom she met at age 16 in a Star Wars-themed online chatroom.
Coleman told the court that the abuse continued in Afghanistan, where the final two years of captivity were the worst. He would choke and bite her as punishment.
During their five years as prisoners in Afghanistan, the couple and their children are believed to have been shuttled between more than 20 locations.

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First Published: Mar 30 2019 | 1:14 PM IST

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