Wife of Orlando nightclub shooter charged with helping husband

The 30-year-old also faces charges of obstruction of justice and misleading the authorities investigating the shooting. Photograph:( Getty )

Los Angeles, CA, United States Jan 17, 2017, 11.40 PM (IST)

The wife of Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen was charged with obstruction of justice and terror-related offense on Tuesday.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Noor Salman early on Monday at her home in California on suspicions that she knew about her husband's plans to carry out the attack.

The two-count indictment states that Noor Salman, who was arrested Monday in northern California, aided and abetted her husband's attempt to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, namely the Islamic State group, AFP reported.

The 30-year-old also faces charges of obstruction of justice and misleading the authorities investigating the shooting.

Mateen opened fire at the Pulse gay nightclub on June 12, 2016 killing 49 people in one of the deadliest mass shooting in US history. He was killed in a shootout with the police. Authorities said Mateen had become radicalised after watching online propaganda.

Salman appeared in federal court in Oakland on Tuesday.

Her next hearing is scheduled today (Wednesday) in a court in California. But US prosecutors expect her case to be transferred to Florida, said William Daniels, a local Justice Department spokesman, Reuters reported.

If convicted, Salman faces up to life in prison.

Al Salman, Salman's uncle, told reporters outside the courtroom that she was unaware about her husband's plans and was in fact abused by Mateen.

"I know she's innocent, 100 per cent," Salman said, adding that her main concern was her child. "She's innocent, simple person. She will not hurt a fly."

Media reported that Salman had called her husband after the news of the shooting broke. He texted her later asking if she had seen the news.

Salman is reported to have responded," I love you".

(With inputs from agencies)