NEW YORK – Two men who for decades staunchly upheld their chastity in the 1965 assassination of civil rights icon Malcolm X will be pardoned on Thursday, following a nearly two-year re-investigation. .
Their attorney, the Innocence Project and civil rights attorney David Shanies said Muhammad Aziz, now 83, and the late Muslim Khalil were convicted in 1966, following a trial that authorities held evidence in favor of the defence.
Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Cyrus Vance Jr. is expected to join male lawyers on Thursday to ask the judge to declare a conviction.
Malcolm X was killed on February 21, 1965, at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, while he was giving a speech.
Aziz, a Muslim and the third man, Mujahid Abdul Halim – also known as Talmadge Hayer and Thomas Hagan – was found guilty of murder in March 1966 and sentenced to life in prison.
Hagan said he was one of three gunmen who shot Malcolm X, but he testified that neither Aziz nor Islam were involved. Both always say they are innocent and ask to be allowed to have an affair. There is no physical evidence linking them to the crime.
Malcolm X has become nationally known as the voice of the Nation of Islam, speaking of the importance of Blacks claiming their citizenship “by any means necessary” in a very clear role. affiliation with the black Muslim organization.
But then he split from the group and, after a trip to Mecca, began talking about the potential for racial unification. It angered him with some in the Nation of Islam, who saw him as a traitor.
Aziz was released in 1985. Islam was released two years later and died in 2009. Both continued to press to clear their names.