Two men, Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam, are exonerated in the killing of Malcolm X

- Advertisement -


  • Two men convicted in the 1965 murder of black civil rights leader Malcolm X were acquitted during a court hearing on Thursday.
  • New York County Supreme Court Judge Ellen Biben approved a motion to overturn the convictions of Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam, ending a half-century effort to clear their names.
  • Aziz was present in the court, where the judge declared his acquittal. Islam, who worked as a driver for Malcom X, died in 2009.

- Advertisement -

Two men convicted in the 1965 murder of black civil rights leader Malcolm X were acquitted during a court hearing on Thursday.

- Advertisement -

New York County Supreme Court Judge Ellen Biben approved a motion to overturn the convictions of Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam, ending a half-century effort to clear their names.

“I am sorry that this court cannot undo the grave miscarriage of justice,” said Biben, According to NBC News, “There can be no doubt that this is a matter which demands fundamental justice.”

- Advertisement -

Aziz was present in the court, where the judge declared his acquittal. Islam, who worked as a driver for Malcom X, died in 2009.

According to NBC News, Aziz said before his acquittal, “I am an 83-year-old man who was a victim of the criminal justice system.”

The decision comes after a nearly two-year investigation conducted by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and the men’s attorneys, who found that the FBI and New York Police Department withheld evidence that might have cleared them at their trial in 1966. Were.

A Vance spokesperson confirmed Wednesday with CNBC that Vance and the Innocence Project will ask a judge to vacate the convictions of the two men.

Evidence included prosecutors’ notes indicating they failed to disclose the presence of undercover officers at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan when Malcolm X was shot by three men on February 21, 1965, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. The Times said the withheld FBI documents also contained information that implied other suspects and distanced Aziz from Islam.

Netflix Documentary “Who Killed Malcolm X?” Vance’s office launched an investigation following the 2020 release. The documentary casts doubt on the objectivity of the convicts, proposing that the two men convicted could not have been at the scene on the day the civil rights leader died.

“Many of those documents were defamatory. None of them were disclosed to the defense,” Vance said during Thursday’s hearing. “Without these files, it is clear that these people did not receive a fair trial, and their sentence should be vacated.”

Vance directly apologized to Aziz, his family, and the families of Islam and Malcolm X for the “serious, unacceptable violation of the law and public trust.”

“I apologize on behalf of our nation’s law enforcement for this decades-long injustice that has eroded public trust in institutions designed to guarantee equal protection of the law,” Vance said. “We cannot restore what was taken from these people and their families, but by correcting the record, perhaps we can begin to restore that trust.”

Aziz and Islam were among three people arrested in 1966. All were members of the Nation of Islam, the extremist group Malcolm X before leaving in 1964.

He was allegedly targeted by the group due to the departure of the civil rights leader. Just a week before the murder, Malcolm X’s house was set on fire.

Both Aziz and Islam were behind bars for two decades before being released from prison in the mid-1980s.

A third person, Mujahid Abdul Halim, admitted to having played a role in the killing, but said Aziz and Islam did not participate. Haleem’s conviction will not be affected by the acquittals of the two men on Thursday.

CNBC’s Dan Mangan

,

- Advertisement -

Stay on top - Get the daily news in your inbox

DMCA / Correction Notice

Recent Articles

Related Stories

Stay on top - Get the daily news in your inbox