Muhammad Ali's daughter fights for clemency for man convicted of Michigan murder
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (FOX 2) - Khaliah Ali, the daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, said she is ready to fight for the release of a man imprisoned for a murder many say he did not commit.
"I'm not going anywhere until this is resolved. I plan on perfectly well being a real Ali and a bit of a pain in the butt," she said.
She traveled from New York to Metro Detroit to meet and help free a man named Temujin Kensu, who has spent 37 years behind bars for the crime.
"Thirty-seven years an innocent man has been in prison. It has been litigated. His case has come up year after year after year. He just turned 60 today, and he is still in prison. That is a stain on this state," said journalist and podcaster Maggie Freleng.
Khaliah said what she is doing is something she believes her father would do.
"It's the kind of thing that I know if my father was still here - he'd be fighting today. Being blessed with the privilege of having the former boxer, Muhammad Ali, as my father, working with laudable causes such as Kensu's has been nothing but a gift and privilege," she said.
They met at the Macomb Correctional Facility on Monday. On Tuesday, Temujin Kensu's 60th birthday, the activists, his investigator, and his attorney with the Michigan Innocence Clinic spoke.
"Mr. Kensu was convicted 37 years ago of killing a man in Port Huron. He, from the beginning, had a series of independent witnesses who placed him in Escanaba, Michigan 400 miles away, and that is about as good of an alibi as you can get," attorney Imran Syed said.
Syed and the Michigan Innocence Clinic have been on the case for the past decade. One federal judge even agreed with them but was overturned on appeal. They now have an application for clemency pending before Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The governor has previously denied a clemency request for Kensu.
"We think this is exactly the sort of case clemency is designed for, where the facts of his innocence are extremely clear," Syed said.
Kensu's team says so many mistakes were made in his case 37 years ago. Their hope is that more high-profile activists will join in, demanding that justice be done.
"It's a fight that I refuse to give up until Temujin comes home," Khaliah said.