A man who was acquitted in the assassination of Malcolm X has filed a $20 million lawsuit against the state of New York.
Khalil Islam, male, was convicted and released in 1987.
In 2009, Islam was declared dead.
Mujahid Halim, a third guy, was also found guilty and sentenced to life in jail.
According to the claim, Halim testified at a trial that he shot Malcolm X and that “none of them had any participation with the murder of Malcolm X.”
After a Netflix show raised issues about the case, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office initiated an investigation in 2020, and both Islam and Aziz’s convictions were overturned in November.
“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 lawsuit said.
The men were exonerated more than 55 years after their convictions, and fresh evidence revealed that FBI papers and other information that was accessible at the time of their trial were “withheld from both defense and prosecution,” according to The Innocence Project and the men’s lawyers.
“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 lawsuit said.
The office of Vance declined to comment on the lawsuit.
He apologized to Aziz and Islam on the day their convictions were overturned.
“I apologize on behalf of our nation’s law enforcement for this decades-long injustice, which has eroded public faith in institutions that are designed to guarantee the equal protection of the law,” Vance said in November. “We can’t restore what was taken from these men and their families, but by correcting the record, perhaps we can begin to restore that faith.”
After spending 20 years in maximum-security prisons across New York state, Aziz’s lawsuit describes his physical injuries, emotional and mental pain, and other damages.
He was 26 years old when he was imprisoned and 46 when he was released.