Two men who were wrongfully convicted for the assassination of Malcolm X in 1965 will receive a $36 million settlement from New York.
On Sunday, Attorney David Shanies confirmed the settlements. New York City will pay Aziz $26 million, while the state will pay an additional $10 million.
The settlement comes one year after the exoneration of Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam. He spent decades in prison due to the FBI and the NYPD withholding evidence that could have proven their innocence in the first place. The two offered alibis, and no physical evidence linked them to the crime.
Aziz, 84, is married with six children and served about two decades in prison. Islam, who died in 2009 at age 74, spent more than 20 years in prison. Aziz was released from prison in 1985, while Islam was released in 1987. Aziz and the estate of Islam initially filed a lawsuit against New York for $40 million.
Deborah Francois, another defendant’s attorney, said, “There’s no amount of money that could ever correct what was robbed from Muhammad and Khalil. That being said, we’re pleased the city saw an opportunity to act swiftly.”
Last year, when the two men were officially exonerated, Shanies said in a statement to the Innocence Project, “Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam were robbed of their freedom in the prime of their lives and branded the killers of a towering civil rights leader. Muhammad is now 83; Khalil passed away years ago without ever having had the chance to see his name cleared. They, their families, and their communities have endured decades of unspeakable pain and suffering. The tragic and unjust events of the past can never be erased but exonerating these men is a righteous and well-deserved affirmation of their true character.”