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Two men convicted in assassination of Malcolm X to be exonerated

The Guardian logo The Guardian 11/17/2021 Guardian staff and agency
Photograph: AP © Provided by The Guardian Photograph: AP

Two men convicted in the assassination of Malcolm X are set to be cleared after more than half a century, with prosecutors now saying authorities withheld evidence in the civil rights leader’s killing.

Related: Malcolm X family says letter shows NYPD and FBI conspired in his murder

Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam, who spent decades in prison for the crime, were being exonerated after a nearly two-year investigation by their lawyers and the Manhattan district attorney’s office. A court date is expected on Thursday.

Muhammad Aziz, then known as Norman 3X Butler, 26, is escorted by detectives after his arrest over the killing of Malcolm X in New York on 26 February 1965. © Photograph: AP Muhammad Aziz, then known as Norman 3X Butler, 26, is escorted by detectives after his arrest over the killing of Malcolm X in New York on 26 February 1965.

“These men did not get the justice that they deserved,” the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr, told the New York Times, which first reported the news.

Malcolm X was gunned down as he began a speech in Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom on 21 February 1965.

The two men were then known as Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson. Aziz, 83, was released in 1985 and has long maintained his innocence. Islam was released two years later and died in 2009.

Vance launched a review of the case after a Netflix documentary last year raised doubts about it.

More details soon …

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