December 6, 2021

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Two men convicted of killing Malcolm X will be acquitted

Muhammad Abdul Aziz and Khalil Islam, two of the people convicted of the murder of Malcolm X, must disavow Thursday, November 18, 55 years after their sentence. The Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus R. to acquit.

Malcolm X, a human rights activist and leader in the African American struggle, was murdered on February 21, 1965 by three people at Audubon Hall in Manhattan. He was shot before he organized a rally in front of his pregnant wife and three of his daughters. He was 39 years old.

The conference room at the New York hotel where Malcolm X was killed (AP Photo/Al Burleigh)

The new investigation was launched after the publication of a new documentary and autobiography of Malcolm X that has revitalized interest in the case, even if it was from the beginning, he says. The New York TimesSuspicions arose about the investigation and trial against Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam. The investigation was led by the Manhattan District Attorney, Aziz’s attorney and Islam, known at the time as Norman 3X Butler and Thomas X Johnson: it was not easy to conduct because many of the people involved in the case, including witnesses and investigators, trial attorneys, or other potential suspects , they died long ago. Some documents have also been lost and physical evidence, such as murder weapons, is no longer available.

However, the investigation came to a conclusion: the prosecutors of that time and two of the country’s leading law enforcement agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York Police Department, hid the main evidence likely to lead to the acquittal of the accused. The two were convicted.

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Aziz, now 83, was released from prison in 1985. Islam, released in 1987, died in 2009. The two spent 21 years in prison, some in solitary confinement, and in some of the worst prisons. Tight security in New York. Aziz had six children at the time of his sentence, and Islam had three. Their lives were shattered after their sentencing, and even after their release they both continued to be considered the killers of Malcolm X, with serious problems related to their reintegration into society. The Manhattan District Attorney says that The New York TimesHe apologized to them and their families, saying, “They did not get the justice they deserve.” He also said that this failure could not be remedied, but that one can still today “recognize the error, the seriousness of the error.”

Malcolm X is considered one of the most important figures in the history of the United States after World War II and with what many consider one of his rivals, Martin Luther KingHe was one of the main advocates of the black civil rights movement. In 1946, when he was arrested for some apartment robberies and sentenced to eight years in prison, he met the Nation of Islam, a group that advocates the liberation of blacks through an original interpretation of the Islamic faith. After his conversion to Islam, and after his release from prison in 1952, he became an important member of the organization, as well as one of its religious leaders.

Malcolm X at a rally in New York in June 1963 (AP Photo)

In those years he also began his strict adherence to civil rights and in 1964, just over a year before his death, he began to distance himself from the group until he broke off ties. He made a pilgrimage to Mecca and began a long journey to different countries of the world. He returned to the United States in February 1965. A few days later, on the 21st of the same month, he was killed by those identified as members of the Nation of Islam.

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Mujahid Abdel Halim, one of the suspects, was immediately arrested in the hall. Aziz was transferred to prison after five days and Islam after another five days. Within a week, the three and all three members of the Nation of Islam were charged with the murder.

At the trial in 1966, prosecutors referred to Islam, a former driver of Malcolm X, as the man who fired the fatal shot, and said that Halim and Aziz were next to him firing from their guns. Ten eyewitnesses reported seeing Islam, Aziz, or both, but their statements were contradictory and there is no physical evidence linking Aziz or Islam to the murder or the crime scene. Both made credible excuses, backed by testimonies from their families and friends. When Halim confessed to the killing, he also said that the other defendants were innocent. On March 11, 1966, all three were convicted.

Muhammad Aziz, aka Norman 3X Butler in New York on February 26, 1965 (AP Photo, File)

Some evidence that could have exonerated Aziz and Islam emerged during their trial but some basic information regarding it was not provided.

In the new investigation, a still-living witness, named only after his initials, J. NS. Aziz’s argument was confirmed. From the investigations, other unclear issues emerged: the fact that there were secret agents at the time of the assassination, in the room, and the fact that a reporter from New York Daily News He had received a call on the morning of the murder that Malcolm X had been murdered that day.

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However, the investigation does not indicate who the perpetrators may have been in Malcolm X’s death, nor does it confirm any police or government involvement or conspiracy in the murder. However, it leaves many questions open: about how and why, for example, the police and the government could not avoid what happened.

Khalil Islam, center, aka 15X Johnson in New York, March 3, 1965 (AP Photo, File)

The The New York Times He writes that while racism and discrimination in the American justice system is, once again, at the center of the anti-racism movement’s protests, these new findings “reveal a bitter truth: that two people convicted of the murder of Malcolm X, a black Muslim men were hastily arrested and tried basis of little solid evidence “They were themselves victims of that discrimination and injustice which Malcolm X, while alive, denounced.