Tags: Kasi | Executed | Virginia

Kasi is Executed in Virginia

Friday, 15 November 2002 12:00 AM

Kasi was pronounced dead at 9:07 p.m. EST, authorities told United Press International. The State Department has warned that Kasi's execution could lead to acts of vengeance against Americans everywhere.

Three chemicals, injected into his body at 9:04 p.m., took three minutes to end his life. "The first was designed to render him unconscious, the second to stop his breathing and the third to stop his heart," said a prison official.

Kasi entered the death chamber at 8:58 p.m., reciting the kalima or the Islamic declaration of faith: "There is no God but God and Mohammed is His prophet."

Before succumbing to the lethal injection, he raised his middle finger -- mistaken by some of the witnesses as a victory sign or possibly a peace sign. However, in Islam raising the middle finger is a way of silently proclaiming that "there's only one God."

Witnesses said it was a very peaceful gesture and there was no sign of agitation in it.

"But he definitely appeared sad," said Guy Taylor of The Washington Times, who watched the execution.

Kasi spent his final hour with an Islamic spiritual adviser, reading a portion of the Muslim holy book which was described by the adviser as "the heart of the Koran." He also chanted a Koranic verse, meaning: "To God we belong and to Him we return."

Earlier, he had a long meeting with his two brothers -- Hmaeedullah Kasi and Mir Wais Kasi -- who had traveled from Pakistan to be with him in his last hours. The brothers were asked to leave the prison at 3 p.m.

On his way to the death chamber, he had a brief conversation -- about 15 to 20 seconds -- with the spiritual adviser.

"He appeared nervous, and his breathing was labored when he entered the death chamber," said Larry Traylor, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Corrections.

Because of security threats, guards with assault rifles guarded the half-mile path to the prison, and three Virginia state troopers also stayed with Kasi in the room.

All journalists covering the event were searched by state officials and asked to provide their press identification.

Two state officials -- one on the phone with the governor's office and the other watching a fax machine connected to the Supreme Court -- also remained in the room, waiting for a possible last-minute order to stay the execution. None arrived.

Besides the four journalists allowed inside the chamber, about 100 other reporters and 15 satellite trucks waited outside the prison for the news of the execution.

A small group of protesters also observed an hourlong vigil, holding candles. Most of them represented groups opposing death penalty.

Prison authorities allowed 10 men to watch the execution, four from the media and six state witnesses.

Kasi walked into the death chamber and was then placed down onto the gurney by the troopers. At this stage, he appeared silent but calm. "I never saw any nervousness," said Chris Gordon of Washington's WRC-TV/Channel 4, one of the witnesses to the execution.

The witnesses said that throughout the procedure, Kasi kept on reciting the Koran. "We did not see him stop moving his mouth," said one witness.

The body was taken to the state medical examiner's office in Richmond, Va., and after an autopsy it will be turned over to his brothers.

The brothers plan to take the body to Pakistan for burial in their ancestral graveyard in the town of Quetta, a scene of violent protest against the execution since Tuesday.

Earlier Thursday, Virginia Gov. Mark Warner denied Kasi's clemency request, saying he had admitted his crimes but shown no remorse for his actions.

"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," Warner said in a statement.

Prosecutors said Kasi, a courier-agency employee in Fairfax County, Va., was upset at U.S. policies abroad, particularly their effect on Islamic countries, when he went on his killing spree.

On Jan. 25, 1993, Kasi walked into traffic backed up outside CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., carrying an AK-47 assault rifle. Repeatedly firing his weapon, Kasi killed the two CIA employees -- Frank Darling and Lensing Bennett -- in their vehicles as they waited for a light to change outside the CIA complex grounds. He wounded three others as a line of motorists sat stunned.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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Kasi was pronounced dead at 9:07 p.m. EST, authorities told United Press International. The State Department has warned that Kasi's execution could lead to acts of vengeance against Americans everywhere. Three chemicals, injected into his body at 9:04 p.m., took three...
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Friday, 15 November 2002 12:00 AM
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