Man Wrongfully Convicted of Killing Malcolm X Sues New York State Following Exoneration

83-year-old Muhammad Aziz filed a lawsuit against New York State one month after being exonerated in connection to the assassination of Malcolm X.

Close up photo of Malcolm X.

Close up of American religious and Civil Rights leader Malcolm X (1925 - 1965) at the Lenox Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts, 1964.

Close up photo of Malcolm X.

Muhammad Aziz has filed a lawsuit against the state of New York for the “serious miscarriages of justice” that resulted in his wrongful conviction in connection to the killing of Malcolm X, CNN reports.

The wording in the suit appears to have been lifted from last month’s ruling from New York County Supreme Court Administrative Judge Ellen Biben, who granted a motion to vacate Aziz’s conviction. “I regret that this court cannot fully undo the serious miscarriages of justice in this case and give you back the many years that were lost,” Biben said.

Aziz, 83, was convicted of first-degree murder, along with Khalil Islam and Mujahid Halim, in 1966. He was released in 1985. Islam, another of the three men convicted, was released two years later, but died in 2009. According to the suit, Halim, who was given a life sentence, testified at the trial that he was the one who pulled the trigger, and “neither of them [Aziz and Islam] had any involvement with the murder of Malcolm X.”

“As a result of his wrongful conviction and imprisonment, Mr. Aziz spent 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit and more than 55 years living with the hardship and indignity attendant to being unjustly branded as a convicted murderer of one of the most important civil rights leaders in history,” the suit states.

The 2020 Netflix docu-series Who Killed Malcolm X? raised questions about Aziz’s involvement in the fatal shooting of the civil rights icon, which in turn, caused the Manhattan district attorney’s office to review the case. An investigation uncovered evidence left hidden by the FBI and the NYPD, and withheld from the defense and prosecution that would’ve proven Aziz and Islam’s innocence. 

“The government’s misconduct that caused Mr. Aziz’s wrongful conviction, including the fabrication of evidence and suppression of compelling evidence of Mr. Aziz’s innocence, was unique in its extremity and audacity,” the suit states.

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