Orlando police announced Monday that the FBI arrested the wife of the man who carried out the Pulse nightclub killings last year, in what was the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Noor Salman—whose husband, Omar Mateen, killed 49 people in an Orlando gay bar last June in an act of terrorism—was charged with aiding and abetting by providing material support to ISIL, a statement by Orlando Police Chief John Mina confirmed. She was also charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly misleading authorities as to her role in the attack.
“Federal authorities have been working tirelessly on this case for more than seven months,” Mina said, “and we are grateful that they have seen to it that some measure of justice will be served in this act of terror that has affected our community so deeply.”
Salman, 30, made her first appearance in a federal court today, and has been temporarily detained pending a status hearing tomorrow, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. If she is convicted, she will face life in prison.
A lawyer for Salman argued to The New York Times that the young woman was the victim of abuse at her husband’s hands, and had no idea that he planned to commit a terrorist attack. During the shooting, Mateen had pledged his support to the Islamic State. Police fatally shot Mateen after the massacre.
“Noor Salman had no foreknowledge nor could she predict what Omar Mateen intended to do that tragic night,” defense attorney Linda Moreno to the New York Times. “Noor has told her story of abuse at his hands. We believe it is misguided and wrong to prosecute her and that it dishonors the memories of the victims to punish an innocent person.”
On the day of the shooting, in fact, Salman bought a Father’s Day card for her husband, expecting him to return that night, Moreno claims.
[Image: Noor Salman, Facebook]