By Jessie Mitnick, age 13

Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil Islam spent 20 years in prison for the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X. Aziz was released from prison in 1985 and Islam in 1987. The case was recently revisited, and the two were subsequently exonerated of the crime. 

Malcolm X, photo by WikiMedia Commons

Malcolm X was a minister and influential part of the civil rights movement. At a young age, he and his family, as well as other people of color, were terrorized by the racist and inhumane actions of the government, the Klu Klux Klan and society at large. Malcolm joined the civil rights movement to fight this systemic racism. 

The Innocence Project has said the persecution of Aziz and Islam was “one of the most blatant miscarriages of justice.” The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office conducted a 22-month investigation which revealed that evidence of their innocence, including FBI documents, were withheld from the court decades ago.

GlossaryE

Exonerate: when the conviction for a crime is reversed