Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965, and over half a century later, a new investigation has revealed that two of the men who were convicted of killing the Civil Rights leader have been innocent all along.

According to the New York Times, Muhammad A. Aziz and the late Khalil Islam will be exonerated of all charges and convictions related to the assassination of Malcolm X following a reported 22-month investigation found that the FBI and NYP withheld crucial evidence that would have led to their acquittal in the 1966 trial. This development comes after each of the men spent more than 20 years in prison, years in solitary confinement, and front row seats to the infamous Attica Prison riot.

Portrait of human rights activist Malcolm X reading stories about himself in a pile of newspapers, circa 1963.
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Aziz, a father of six at the time of his conviction, and Islam, who was a father of three, were both released from prison on parole in 1985 and 1987, respectively, but Islam passed away in 2009 at the age of 74, approximately 12 years before his name would finally be cleared. Once outside of prison, both men still faced difficulties keeping their families together and living openly as they were previously known throughout the world as the people who allegedly killed Malcolm X.

"It’s long overdue," Bryan Stevenson, a civil rights lawyer and the founder of the Equal Justice initiative, says of the Aziz and Islam's exonerations. "This is one of the most prominent figures of the 20th century who commanded enormous attention and respect. And yet, our system failed"

Of the three men who were initially found guilty of killing Malcolm X, Mujahid Abdul Halim's conviction still stands, as he confessed at trial to being involved in the Civil Rights leader's assassination. However, Halim, now 80 years old and living in Brooklyn, has always claimed that his co-defendants were innocent. Upon hearing the news that Aziz and Islam are set to be exonerated, Halim told the NYT, "God bless you, they’re exonerated."

Talmadge Hayer, one of the men convicted of killing Malcolm X, speaking on Tony Brown's Journal, March 29, 1980.
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