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Two Men Convicted of Killing Malcolm X Get Exonerated Decades Later

After half a century of trying to clear their names, the two men who were convicted of the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X were finally exonerated. On Thursday, New York County Supreme Court Administrative Judge Ellen Biben granted the motion to vacate the convictions of Muhammad A. Aziz and the late Khalil Islam.

According to CNN, this comes after a 22-month investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s and lawyers for the men found that evidence that proved their innocence, including FBI documents, were withheld at the trial. The investigation found that both the FBI and New York Police Department withheld key evidence that would have likely led to their acquittal, says the lawyers of the two men and the Innocence Project. 

Aziz addressed the court Thursday saying, “The events that brought us to court today 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 to black people in 2021.” 

This case highlights the issue and, as a result, the distrust that many black people have towards the justice system. For many, this victory will be seen as coming way too late. It was too late for Khalil Islam, who died back in 2009. This is something that Vance spoke on in an apology he made in court. 

“I apologize on behalf of our nation’s law enforcement for this decadeslong injustice which has eroded public faith in institutions designed to guarantee equal protection under law. Your honor, we can’t restore what was taken away from these men and their families, but by correcting the records, perhaps we can begin to restore that faith.”

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