- The Washington Times - Friday, November 15, 2002

JARRATT, Va. Aimal Khan Kasi, the Pakistani national who fatally gunned down two CIA employees and wounded three others outside the agency's Langley headquarters nearly a decade ago, was put to death by injection last night after the U.S. Supreme Court and Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner declined to stay his execution. He was pronounced dead at 9:07 p.m. at the Greensville Correctional Center.
"There is no god but Allah," Kasi said, when asked by the prison warden if he had any final words.
Arms cuffed behind his back, Kasi was led into the death chamber 10 minutes earlier. He had a partial-growth black beard and wore blue denim pants, flip-flop sandals and a light blue shirt. He did not resist as the officers placed him on the gurney.
After he was secured, Kasi raised the wrist of his right hand from beneath the leather strap, as if to acknowledge the presence of more than two dozen witnesses. He gently waved with two fingers raised in a peace sign.
Kasi appeared to mutter prayers to himself as he awaited the injection. He looked as if he were crying, and his right foot twitched nervously until he lost consciousness.
The execution came nearly 10 years after the freezing-cold January morning in 1993 when Kasi opened fire with an AK-47 assault rifle on a row of cars sitting outside the headquarters, killing Frank Darling, 28, a CIA employee who worked in covert operations, and Lansing Bennett, 66, a CIA intelligence analyst and physician.
The men were in their cars as Kasi walked along, pumping bullets into vehicles stopped at a traffic light on Chain Bridge Road, waiting to turn into headquarters. Wounded in the shooting were Stephen E. Williams, 48, an AT&T; employee; Calvin Morgan, 61, an engineer; and Nicholas Starr, 60, a CIA analyst.
"Mr. Kasi has admitted to the crimes for which he was convicted and shown absolutely no remorse for his actions," Mr. Warner said in a statement released yesterday afternoon. "After a thorough review of Mr. Kasi's petition for clemency and the judicial opinions regarding this case, I have concluded that the death penalty is appropriate in this instance. I will not intervene."
Last night, Kasi, 38, requested bananas, fried rice with spices and egg, wheat bread and boiled eggs for his last meal, which he ate at 5:15 p.m. He had a two-hour visit with two of his brothers from Pakistan.
Kasi's spiritual adviser, Mian Muhammad Saeed of the Islamic Center of Northern Virginia, was escorted to Kasi's cell shortly after 7 p.m. He carried a leather-bound copy of the Koran and stayed with Kasi until minutes before his execution.
Charles R. Burke, Kasi's attorney, said the condemned man spent the last hour of his life praying.
Kasi, a Muslim who spent his last weeks observing Ramadan from his death-row cell, was convicted as Mir Aimal Kasi but said that name is erroneous because of a misprint on his visa. He had been on death row since Feb. 6, 1998. He appealed 91 legal issues before the Virginia Supreme Court, mainly accusing the FBI of acting unlawfully at the time of his arrest in Pakistan in 1997. None of the appeals were successful.
Kasi was the 323rd Virginia inmate executed since 1908, when the state took over executions from local sheriff's departments. Capital punishment was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1972 and reinstated in Virginia in 1976. Since then, 86 inmates have been executed. Since July 24, 1991, executions in the state have happened at 9 p.m. at the Greensville center.
Last night, rifle-carrying sheriff's deputies manned a checkpoint leading into the detention center, as television crews stood vigil outside the building.
Several dozen anti-death-penalty demonstrators also gathered in a field outside the complex.
"We have a vigil each time there is an execution here," said death-penalty opponent Tim Stanton of Richmond. Mr. Stanton, 44, said the demonstration was not a political statement about Kasi. "We are here to witness that the state kills our citizens in the middle of the night here in the middle of nowhere."
As the execution approached, thousands of young fundamentalist Muslims had hit the streets in Pakistan to show their support for Kasi. The U.S. State Department last week issued a worldwide caution that the execution could trigger retaliatory attacks against American interests abroad.
More than 200 people staged protests in Pakistan's capital city of Islamabad on Monday. Denouncing the execution as "inhuman," they warned of strong reaction in the Islamic world, according Pakistani newspaper reports. The protesters raised anti-American slogans and called for Kasi's execution to be stopped.
Pakistan has a law supporting capital punishment, and officials have said Kasi was likely to have received it had he committed a similar shooting there.
Muslim leaders in Kasi's hometown of Quetta had demanded his sentence be converted to life imprisonment.
Mohammad Sadiq, Pakistan's deputy ambassador in Washington, said Pakistani officials responding to requests from Kasi's family contacted Mr. Warner, asking that Kasi be granted a reprieve. The request was denied.
Kasi was caught on June 15, 1997, after 29 months of tracking him. FBI agents captured the fugitive in a dingy motel on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. He was arrested and brought back to Fairfax County where officials quickly began their case to convict him on capital murder charges.
Anti-death penalty groups in the United States had said Kasi was the only known Muslim terrorist on death row. Kasi insisted that he was not a terrorist and that he acted alone in the CIA shooting.
In an interview with the Associated Press from death row last week, Kasi said he hoped fellow Muslims did not retaliate against Americans because of his execution and that he was not encouraging any retaliation.
While authorities perceive the threat of retaliation to be greatest overseas, Virginia's top homeland-security official, John H. Hager, said area officials "are aware of the situation, and we urge businesses to exercise caution."
Virginia Capitol Police Capt. Larry R. Dollings said officers would be out in greater numbers than usual around the Capitol in Richmond.


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