2 men convicted in 1965 of the murder of Malcolm X for acquittal: NEW

Two men convicted of the murder of Malcolm X are set to be acquitted after more than half a century, and prosecutors now say authorities withheld evidence of the killing of the civil rights leader, according to a news report on Wednesday.

New York Times reported Wednesday that Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam, who spent decades in prison for the crime, were acquitted after a nearly two-year investigation by their lawyers and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. A trial date is expected Thursday.

“These men did not get the justice they deserved,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said. to the newspaper.

One of the most controversial and compelling figures of the civil rights era, Malcolm X, became famous as the main spokesman for the Nation of Islam, proclaiming the message of the black Muslim organization at the time: racial separatism as a path to self-actualization. He famously urged black people to invoke civil rights “in any necessary way.”

He was shot down when he began a speech in Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom at Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom on February 21, 1965.

Aziz, Islam and a third man, Mujahid Abdul Halim – known at the time of the assassination as Talmadge Hayer and later as Thomas Hagan – were convicted of murder in March 1966 and sentenced to life in prison.

Hagan said he was one of three gunmen who shot Malcolm X, but he testified that neither Aziz nor Islam were involved. They constantly maintained that they were innocent.

Hagan was released on probation in 2010.

Aziz, who was called the Norman 3X Butler at the time of the shooting, was released in 1985. He is now 83 years old.

Islam, formerly Thomas 15X Johnson, was released two years later and died in 2009.

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