Incarceration Nation

Innocence of Mahmud Khabir Al-Matin

Actual innocence of Mahmud Khabir Al-Matin overlooked for 27 years by the New York State Courts and the blind justice system

 By Carole Seligman

Note: This article is based on information and correspondence with Khabir.

Mahmud Khabir Al-Matin was extradited to the State of New York from New Jersey in April 1989 on a murder charge, while being held on unrelated charges. A former business acquaintance and friend of Al-Matin who he had known for years, and who had taken him in when Al-Matin would run away from home and his strict Muslim parents, was murdered, and Al-Matin was charged.

Taken into custody by New York police and New Jersey authorities, he was questioned for 15 hours, all the while denying his involvement in the murder, which was the outcome of a robbery involving a large amount of money and heroin.

In a familiar frame-up scenario, several witnesses were coerced into falsely testifying against Al-Matin, including his fiancé and a prison informant. Al-Matin says: “It was clear the statements made by all parties were conjured to fit the police theory of a crime and vicious murder that took place. Only…this crime was not committed by me. I was sentenced to 25 years to life and have served 27 years. I have been denied parole. Everyone involved in this case benefited in some form or fashion, and was given ranking status. One went on to work for the D.A.’s office and the District Attorney became an Attorney General.”

Al-Matin’s only crime was his unrelated arrest for involvement in a drug operation and other charges to which he admitted guilt. He says, “The sentence for those charges should have ended decades ago.”

Al-Matin calls on people outside of prison to help stop the illegal injustices that persist with wrongful convictions—frame ups—in New York, including his own. He cites the cases of “Jabbar Collins, Shabaka Shakur, Derrick Hamilton, Rosean Hargrave, Manuel Lugo, The Central Park Six, Jonathan Fleming and more who have been exonerated after spending decades in New York prisons.”

To support Mahmud, people can write to the New York State Parole Board, asking for him to be granted parole release supervision in April 2016 (the next scheduled review). Here is the address:

Ms. Tina Stanford, Chairwoman of the New York State Parole Board, 1220 Washington Ave., Bldg. #2, Albany, NY 12226-2050.

I have been in correspondence with Khabir for over a year and have learned from him of his wrongful conviction as well as the mistreatment of Muslim prisoners in the New York Correctional Facilities, including the difficulties they encounter in trying to practice their religion.

His elderly mother is in poor health and lives far from the prison, so he has hardly been able to have visits with her over these many years. Khabir participates in every educational and cultural program available at Shawangunk Correctional Facility both as student and teacher, to prepare himself for life outside prison walls.

“Injustice will only stand when wrongful convictions are not fought,” says Khabir. I strongly agree.

Write to Khabir at:

Mahmud Khabir Al-Matin #91A2347


Shawangunk Correctional Facility

Box 700

Wallkill, NY 12589