2 Men to Receive $36 Million for Wrongful Conviction in Malcolm X Assassination: Reports

To left, Image of Muhammad Aziz in 1965, To Right, Image of Muhammad Aziz in november 2021

Muhammad Aziz and the estate of Khalil Islam are to receive $26 million from New York City and $10 million from the state of New York, according to reports.

New York State and New York City are to pay a total of $36 million to the two men who were wrongfully convicted for the assassination of Malcolm X.

Muhammad Aziz, 84, and Khalil Islam, who died in 2009, were convicted for the murder of Malcolm X in March of 1966 and were released last November, NPR reported.

New York City will pay $26 million and the state will pay the remaining $10 million to Aziz and to the estate of Islam, according to NPR.

"Muhammad Aziz, Khalil Islam, and their families suffered because of these unjust convictions for more than 50 years," David Shanies, the attorney representing the men, said in an email, according to NPR. 

"The City recognized the grave injustices done here, and I commend the sincerity and speed with which the Comptroller's Office and the Corporation Counsel moved to resolve the lawsuits."

According to CBS New York, the two men were exonerated after new evidence of witness intimidation and suppression of exculpatory evidence influenced the case against Aziz and Islam.

The district attorney at the time of their exoneration, Cyrus Vance Jr. issued an apology for law enforcement's "serious, unacceptable violations of law and the public trust," which the New York City Law Department said it stands by, CBS New York reported.

According to the National Registry of Exonerations, along with Aziz and Islam, a third man was convicted for the assassination, Mujahid Abdul Halim. Halim has confessed to shooting Malcolm X but made it clear that the two other men had nothing to do with it.

“I just want to testify that [Aziz] and [Islam] had nothing to do with it,” said Halim in the 1966 trial, according to the National Registry of Exonerations. “I was there. I know what happened and I know the people who were there.” 

The cross-examination of Halim suggested that Halim was lying and all three men were convicted of murder and later sentenced to life in prison despite Aziz and Islam having alibis, according to the National Registry of Exonerations.

Shanies said the $36 million settlement would send the message that "police and prosecutorial misconduct cause tremendous damage, and we must remain vigilant to identify and correct injustices," according to NPR. 

The settlement will be split evenly between Aziz and Islam's estate and the documents will be signed over the next few weeks, NPR reported. 

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