The city and state of New York will pay $36 million to the two men whose convictions for the 1965 murder of Malcolm X were overturned last year, according to their lawyer.
The conviction and imprisonment of two innocent, young Black men in America added to the agony of Malcolm X’s death, according to their lawyer David Shanies, who sent a message to AFP through email on Sunday night. Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam, the two guys, have consistently argued that they did not carry out the crime.
After serving about 20 years in prison and more than 55 years after being wrongfully accused in the case that sparked debate over racism in the criminal justice system, Aziz, 84, had requested $40 million. Six kids total and a married man are Aziz. Islam, who passed away in 2009 at 74, was likewise incarcerated for over 20 years until being freed in November 2021. His estate has also brought a $40 million lawsuit.
They were freed in the middle of the 1980s, but it wasn’t until November 2021 that the New York State Supreme Court, which dubbed their convictions some 50 years earlier “a failure of justice,” totally cleansed their reputations. Today, we recognise that injustice and get closer to making amends, said Shanies.
He backed up a New York Times article that the city of New York will pay $26 million, which will be shared between 84-year-old Aziz and the Islam family. The New York State government will also provide five million dollars for a combined $36 million compensation.
“This settlement offers some amount of justice to individuals who spent decades in jail and faced the humiliation of being wrongfully convicted of murdering an iconic figure,” Nick Paolucci, a spokesman for the New York City Law Department, said in a statement to the New York Times on Sunday.
The renowned 39-year-old leader was assassinated in front of his wife and children as he arrived to speak at the podium of a Harlem ballroom, according to the official record for more than 50 years. Malcolm X had recently left the Nation of Islam.
Malcolm was struck once in the chest by a man who barged the stage brandishing a sawn-off shotgun. Two more people charged at him while brandishing semi-automatic guns fired at him. He had suffered 21 gunshot wounds before he was declared dead at a local hospital.
Leading Black civil rights figures and up to 30,000 mourners filled the streets of Harlem for his funeral. The convictions of Aziz, Islam, and a fourth man, Mujahid Abdul Halim, in 1966 have long been disputed by historians. Abdul Halim, who is now 81 and was freed from prison in 2010, admitted to the murder but insisted the other two were innocent.