Posted: Nov 19, 2021 00:47 GMT
Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam always maintained their innocence. The third convict, Thomas Hagan, assured at all times that they were not his accomplices.
A New York judge dropped all charges against Muhammad aziz and Khalil islam, who for decades were held in prison after being found guilty of the murder of Malcolm X, a prominent African-American rights activist, reports AP.
The also famous speaker was fatally shot on February 21, 1965 at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan, New York, when he was about to give a public speech. Of the three assassins involved in the attack, those present managed to capture one on the spot: Thomas Hagan, a member of the radical political and religious movement Nation of Islam, with which Malcolm X, one of its founders, had publicly broken up in 1964.
Aziz and Khalil, also supporters of the movement, were accused of being its accomplices, even when They denied it and presented verifiable alibis. In 1966 they were sentenced to life imprisonment and spent close to two decades behind bars, until they received parole. During all this time, both in prison and already free, they insisted on their innocence. Also Hagan himself, who was released from prison in 2010, repeatedly claimed that neither of them participated in the murder. His accomplices, he maintained, were two other men, who to this day have not been arrested.
In February 2020, the Prosecutor’s Office restarted the investigation of the case. In such a way, sufficient proof of the innocence of Aziz and Khalil was discovered, as well as of the role played by the then FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, so that they were condemned. During the judicial process at that time, Hoover ordered several informants who were at the crime scene that they will not identify as such before the Police or the defense. Likewise, the review of the case determined that the FBI and the Police they withheld evidence from prosecutorshighlighted one of Aziz and Khalil’s attorneys, Barry Scheck.
“I apologize for the gross and unacceptable violations of the law and public trust,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said Thursday.
“The event that brought us to court today should never have happened,” said Aziz, who is now 83 years old. As for Khalil, he did not live to see his acquittal – he passed away in 2009.