The wife of the man who killed 49 people in 2016 at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando goes on trial next week. Noor Salman is charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization and obstruction of justice. But her supporters deny that, saying she was abused by her husband and not mentally fit to have helped in the crime.
Mel Underbakke is with Friends of Human Rights and The Coalition for Civil Freedoms, groups that are organizing a meeting tonight to talk about the case.
It’s at First United Church of Tampa 7308 E. Fowler Ave. in Tampa
“Noor Salman has the unfortunate distinction of being the wife of Omar Mateen, the man who committed the mass shooting in Orlando.”
At the Pulse Nightclub.
“At the Pulse Nightclub, yes.”
She’s actually being charged with a crime and has a trial coming up. What are the charges?
“Yes, she’s being basically charged with helping him plan this. The trial’s coming up March 1st. I believe some of the things that have been in the media lately have been since retracted. One that was all over the media is that she was casing the nightclub for him. And apparently that never happened and the government has retracted that. But those are the charges: aiding and abetting. And she faces life in prison if convicted.”
Why do you think that she didn’t have the capability [to] – or at least didn’t – aid and abet this crime?
“Well there’s two factors. I don’t think she had the capability. I believe her IQ is about 80. She was a special education student. Her special education teacher said she was a very innocent and naïve and very sweet person. But hard working. Her uncle said that she just could not read between the lines. You just have to tell it like it is. At family gatherings, he said, she would be more likely to be hanging out with the kids. He said basically, she’s very child-like.
“And I think another factor to be considered is: Omar Mateen was a very violent man. And he was also violent to her. She was very abused. She was isolated from her family for five years. She was beaten by this man. Lied to all the time. And to think of her as doing anything like this, to me, is ludicrous.”
The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that a judge ruled that the jury can see video of Noor Salman’s husband’s shooting inside Pulse nightclub. Salman’s lawyers objected that it would be prejudicial.