2 Men Convicted in Assassination of Malcolm X Will Be Exonerated

While most of the people the review panel sought to interview were dead, a witness who initially gave during the screening of the documentary submitted a report that appeared to confirm Mr. Aziz’s argument and was never heard by the authorities.

The witness, identified as GM, said he was handling the phone at the Nation Mosque in Harlem on the day Malcolm X was killed when Mr. Aziz called and asked about the mosque’s captain. They hung up while JM went to find the captain, then JM called Mr. Aziz again on his home phone. Mr. Aziz replied.

Representatives of the two acquitted men said that this moment means a lot to Mr. Aziz and to Mr. Islam’s family. But Mr. Shanese, one of the civil rights attorneys representing them, said their convictions had an “appalling, turbulent and unreasonable” effect that could not be undone.

The two men spent a total of 42 years in prison, including years in solitary confinement. They were held in some of New York’s worst maximum-security prisons in the 1970s, a decade that saw the Attica uprisings.

Mr. Aziz had six children at the time of his conviction. Mr. Islam had three. The two men saw their marriages fall apart and spent their early lives behind bars.

Even after their release, they were understood to be the killers of Malcolm X, which affected their ability to live openly in society.

“It affected them in every way you could imagine, they and their families,” said Mr. Shannis.

In the final episode of the documentary series, presenter Mr. Mohamed asked Mr. Aziz to sign a petition asking a Manhattan district attorney to review his conviction. Mr. Aziz complies, but says his 20 years in prison have erased his belief that his name will ever be exonerated.

Susan C. Beachy Contribute to research.

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