“The event that has brought us to court today should never have occurred,” Aziz told the court. “I am an 83-year-old man who was victimized by the criminal justice system.”

More than half a century after the assassination of Malcolm X, two of his convicted killers were exonerated Thursday after decades of doubt about who was responsible for the civil rights icon’s death, the Associated Press reports.

Manhattan judge Ellen Biben dismissed the convictions of Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam, after prosecutors and the men’s lawyers said a renewed investigation found new evidence that undermined the case against the men and determined that authorities withheld some of what they knew.

“The event that has brought us to court today should never have occurred,” Aziz told the court. “I am an 83-year-old man who was victimized by the criminal justice system.”

It pained Islam’s sons, Ameen Johnson and Shahid Johnson, that their parents died before seeing the conviction reversed. Still, Ameen Johnson said his father would have been ecstatic to clear his name.

“His reputation meant a lot to him,” the son said, and now “we don’t have to watch over our backs, worrying about any repercussions from anybody who thought that he might have been the one that killed Malcolm X.”

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