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US judge revokes release of Orlando gunman's wife

A federal judge has blocked the release of the Orlando nightclub gunman's widow, saying she posed a flight risk and threat to the public. Noor Salman is accused of abetting her late husband, who killed 49 people in June.

Florida District Judge Paul Byron on Friday revoked the bail and release of Noor Salman, the widow of the gunman who killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub in June.

Earlier this month, California magistrate Donna Ryu decided to release Salman on $500,000 bail (468,000 euros), ruling that she posed no danger to the public and was not a serious flight risk.

However, Byron disagreed with Ryu's assessment, ruling that "no condition or combination of conditions of pretrial release will reasonably assure the safety of the community or reasonably assure the defendant's appearance during the required court proceedings."

In his order, Byron cited that he feared Salman would flee to the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where her mother and uncle own an apartment.

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Noor Salman was arrested at her mother's California home in January, charged with abetting her husband's attack on the Pulse nightclub last June, in which he killed 49 people and wounded 53. The gunman, Omar Mateen, a US citizen of Afghan decent, was fatally shot by police during the attack.

Mateen had pledged allegiance to several extremist organizations, including the so-called "Islamic State" militant group.

Byron said that although Salman may not be directly linked to IS, she was well aware of her husband's extremist views and plans. "The existence of the defendant's past involvement in a terrorist attack, even recognizing she did not pull the trigger, poses too great of a danger to the community to warrant pretrial release," the Florida judge said.

Salman also stands accused of obstructing justice, having reportedly given conflicting statements during FBI questioning as to whether she knew her husband was planning an attack.

Byron's order means that Salman will remain in prison pending the outcome of the case. An initial hearing is set for April 10, when the public prosecution will seek to have her transferred into custody in Florida.

dm/se (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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