Malcom X: Two Decades In Imprisonment On False Case, $36 Million In Racial Wounds New York: Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam spent nearly two decades in prison after being wrongfully convicted. The case raised bitter questions about racism in the US criminal justice system.

Washington: Last year, 84-year-old Mohammed Aziz was acquitted of the murder of black civil rights activist Malcolm X. Along with him, Khalil Islam was also freed from the stigma of this accusation. However, Khalil died in 2009 at the age of 74. Both had spent more than two decades behind bars. The US government is paying $3.6 million in compensation to both men. The two men who were wrongly convicted were seeking $40 million in damages. But in the end only 3 crore 60 lakhs was sold. New York City will pay 2.6 million dollars, and the US federal government will pay the remaining 1 million dollars. The high-profile case, however, has raised bitter questions about racism in the US criminal justice system.

Their lawyers said, “Mohammed Aziz, Khalil Islam, and their families deserve this for the hardships they have gone through. They suffered a lifetime of being wrongly accused of murdering a civil rights leader.” “They have spent decades in prison and carry the stigma of being falsely accused of murdering an iconic figure,” said New York City Law Department spokesman Nick Paolucci. This settlement is a measure of justice for them.”

In the 1960s, a new civil rights movement began in the United States. That tumultuous time gave birth to several political figures. One of them was Malcolm X. Unlike Martin Luther King Jr., he advocated violence to achieve civil rights. In the 1950s, a movement called the ‘Nation of Islam’ was formed in America by combining Islam and black nationalism. Malcolm X joined the movement. But, Malcolm’s views gradually changed over the next decade. He began to question the anti-white ideology of the ‘Nation of Islam’. Finally, in 1964, he severed all ties with the organization. Because of this separation, many leaders of the ‘Nation of Islam’ became angry with him. He was considered a traitor. Malcolm X himself feared a fatal attack on him.

On February 21, 1965, his fears came true. While giving a speech in Manhattan, 39-year-old Malcolm was shot by several gunmen. One of Malcolm’s bodyguards, Halim, managed to shoot the gunman. Mohammad Aziz was arrested five days after the incident and Khalil Islam another five days later. Within a week, these three members of the ‘Nation of Islam’ were charged with murder. During the trial, Halim confessed his guilt. However, he maintained that the other two persons were innocent. Nevertheless, all three were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

However, in the absence of eyewitness testimony, their guilt was always in doubt. Various amateur investigators, journalists, historians, and biographers have over the years claimed the innocence of Khalil and Mohammad Aziz. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the duo’s private lawyers conducted a joint 22-month investigation. Finally last year, the two were exonerated at the end of that investigation. Khalil and Muhammad got some justice this time.

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