Swede jailed for claiming ex son-in-law was terrorist

A court in Sweden on Thursday sentenced a man to three months in jail for aggravated libel for falsely informing the FBI that his former son-in-law had links to al-Qaeda.

Leif Holm, who admitted sending an email to the FBI, had contested the charges on the grounds that he did not think the US authorities would be “so stupid” as to believe him.

Holm was also ordered to pay 60,000 kronor ($9,421 dollars) in damages to his former son-in-law, according to a copy of the verdict obtained by AFP.

The 40-year-old son-in-law was in the process of divorcing his wife in 2006 when he had to travel to the United States for business.

The wife didn’t want him to travel since she was sick and wanted him to help care for their children, media reported at the time of the indictment.

When the husband refused to stay home, Holm wrote an email to the FBI saying he had links to al-Qaeda in Sweden and that he was travelling to the United States to meet his contacts.

Holm provided information on the flight number and date of arrival in the US.

The son-in-law was arrested upon landing in Florida. He was placed in handcuffs, interrogated and held in a cell before being put on a flight back to Europe the following day.

The FBI contacted the Swedish intelligence agency Säpo, which discovered that the e-mail tipping off the FBI had been sent from the father-in-law’s computer.

“He thought he would only be investigated … possibly be shadowed in a bid to gather evidence,” Holm’s lawyer told the court, adding that his client would have acted differently had he known the US authorities would react so harshly.

He “could not believe that the world’s biggest democracy would do that.”