New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. will move to vacate the convictions of two men for the assassination of Malcolm X in 1965, his office said on Wednesday.
The announcement of the exoneration of Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil Islam, first reported in The New York Times, follows a recent Netflix docuseries on the 56-year-old case, Who Killed Malcolm X?
Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, a historian who has long investigated the case and was a central figure in the docuseries, wrote on Twitter, “As a result of our Netflix series ‘Who Killed Malcolm X?,’ tomorrow the US history books will be rewritten when two men wrongfully convicted for the assassination of Malcolm X will be exonerated after 55 years, a historic milestone!!” Vance’s office had been reviewing the case for almost two years, as the documentary uncovered new evidence.
Aziz and Islam each spent more than 20 years in prison for the murder of the civil rights leader. Another man who was convicted, Mujahid Abdul Halim, was not exonerated. He confessed to the killing during the trial, but has said that the two other men were innocent. Halim was granted parole in 2010.
Aziz was released on parole in 1985, and Islam two years later. Islam died in 2009.
Vance’s investigation was conducted with the Innocence Project and attorney David Shanies.
“These men did not get the justice that they deserved,” Vance told the Times.
Malcolm X was assassinated on Feb. 21, 1965, while he was delivering a speech at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City. He had been in conflict with the Nation of Islam, the group that he had left and later renounced. Halim later named four other men who he said took part in the murder, but Aziz and Islam were rejected in their appeals as they served their sentences.