On Thursday, Nov. 18, a judge declared innocent two men convicted of the murder of human rights activist Malcolm X after decades of questioning who had been responsible.
A new investigation uncovered evidence that authorities had withheld some of the evidence, leading to a wrongful conviction of two men, Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam,
As a result, judge Ellen Biben rejected the sentences of Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam, as AP news reported.
The Malcolm X murder
Malcolm X, who fostered the blacks to raise their voices for civil rights “by any means necessary,” had achieved national recognition, embodying Islam’s Nation voice.
Malcolm X appeared to state his intention for racial unity following a trip to Mecca, leading to his secession from Black Muslim organizations in his final days.
Some in the Nation of Islam considered him a traitor, which created waves of rage.
At the age of 39, he was shot and killed while giving a speech on Feb. 21, 1965.
Malcolm X murder suspects convicted
In March 1966, Aziz and Islam, known as Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson, along with a third person, were declared guilty of the assassination and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Mujahid Abdul Halim, the third man, also known as Talmadge Hayer and Thomas Hagan, confessed to killing Malcolm X but said neither Aziz nor Islam were involved. There was no solid proof found of their connection with the murder, and the two had alibis.
In 2010, Halim was set free.
Aziz spoke in the court: “The event that has brought us to court today should never have occurred.” He added: “I am an 83-year-old man who was victimized by the criminal justice system.”, as AP news reported
Malcolm X murder’s new updates
On Thursday, Nov. 18, Halim referred to some other men as accomplices but refused to make any comments, according to a relative. However, no one has been determined to be responsible for the murder.
According to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., the updated investigation has revealed FBI files’ details on witnesses who failed to incriminate Islam but implied other suspects were involved.
The files uncovered that the witnesses were forced to conceal their role as informants in their conversations with police and prosecutors, as followed by the instruction of the late FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.
Vance added: “There is one ultimate conclusion: Mr. Aziz and Mr. Islam were wrongfully convicted of this crime,” and retrying the 56-year-old case is not a possibility.
He also apologized for “serious, unacceptable violations of law and the public trust.” of law enforcement.
Barry Scheck, Innocence Project co-founder, one of the lawyers for Aziz and Islam’s family, informed that the review’s finding had uncovered evidence hidden from prosecutors by the FBI and police. The attorney considered it as a plot to disrupt the Black civil rights growth.
Deborah Francois, another attorney who works with civil rights attorney David Shanies, said that proof of Aziz’s and Islam’s innocence, discovered by the FBI and New York Police Department within hours, was ignored and suppressed.
Biden referred to the case as it “cries out for fundamental justice.”
On Wednesday, Nov. 17, the NYPD and the FBI stated that they had been in close cooperation with the re-investigation.
The case remains open
On Thursday, NYPD Chief of Patrol Juanita Holmes also expressed her condolence for Malcolm X’s family, Aziz, and Islam.
In response to the widely publicized exonerations, even New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio publicly stated that the public deserved more related information.
The Mayor said they had to figure out who committed the crime and who stood behind it on behalf of millions and millions of Americans. He added: “I hope this doesn’t end the discussion.”
All physical evidence, including the shotgun used in the assassination—has, disappeared, as are any call records that might have existed. The eyewitnesses who testified at the trial all have passed away.