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Malcolm X assassin freed on parole

The man who shot dead US civil rights leader Malcolm X has been granted parole after spending 44 years in jail.

world Updated: Apr 28, 2010 12:16 IST

The man who shot dead US civil rights leader Malcolm X has been granted parole after spending 44 years in jail.

Malcolm X was murdered Feb 21, 1965 in New York while giving a speech at the Audubon ballroom in New York. He was addressing a gathering of Organisation of Afro-American Unity.

His horrified family members looked on as the rights activist was gunned down. Thomas Hagan was arrested within minutes of the assassination.

Hagan, now 69, has walked out of the Lincoln Correctional Facility, NY Daily News.com quoted state corrections spokesperson Linda Foglia as saying.

Hagan's effort to get parole and full release were rejected 16 times before he was cleared for freedom March 3.

A former militant member of the Nation of Islam, he has admitted his role in the killing during his trial.

CNN reported that Hagan had been part of a full-time work-release programme that allowed him to live at home in Brooklyn five days a week and report to jail for two days.

"I have deep regrets about my participation in that. I don't think it should ever have happened," Hagan told the parole board, according to a transcript cited by CNN.