Two men who were convicted of the 1965 assassination of political figure and civil rights movement icon, Malcolm X are to have their convictions pardoned in what is being called a “historic miscarriage of justice”.
As Democracy Now reports, this comes after “decades of advocacy on behalf of the men, as well as a 2-year investigation” conducted by the Manhattan’s D.A’s office and Innocence Project. Said investigation found that the prosecutors, including the FBI and New York Police Department, had withheld key evidence surrounding the assassination.
This rewrites one of the most “notorious murders of the civil rights era,” as the New York Times conveys.
Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil Islam each spent over 20-years in prison. They had been sentenced to life but were released earlier. Islam died in 2009.
“Our system failed,” said Bryan Steveson, a civil rights lawyer and the founder of the Equal Justice initiative. “This is one of the most prominent figures of the 20th century who commanded enormous attention and respect,” he further noted in reference to the prominent African American leader.
The two men wrongfully convicted did not get the justice they deserved, according to Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney.
The third man, Mujahid Abdul Halim, had confessed to the murder but was released in 2010. He had claimed during the 1966 trial that the other two were innocent.
All three were members of the Black nationalist group Nation of Islam, which Malcolm X had renounced.
The original story of the murder was that Malcolm X had been shot dead by three gunmen on February 21, 1965 as he prepared to deliver a speech in a Manhattan ballroom.
According to The National News, Aziz said in a statement that “the events that brought us here should never have occurred; those events were and are the result of a process that was corrupt to its core — one that is all too familiar — even in 2021.”
“While I do not need a court, prosecutors, or a piece of paper to tell me I am innocent, I am glad that my family, my friends, and the attorneys who have worked and supported me all these years are finally seeing the truth we have all known, officially recognized,” he further noted.
The revival of the notorious case largely followed the release of a Netflix docuseries “Who Killed Malcolm X?”
Who was Malcolm X?