FBI photo of Mir Qazi
|Born||10 February 1964 (or 1 January 1967)
|Died|| (aged 38)
Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, Virginia, United States
|Cause of death||Lethal injection|
|Other names||Mir Aimal Kasi|
|Known for||Perpetrator of the 1993 shootings at CIA Headquarters|
|Criminal charge||Capital murder, first degree murder, malicious wounding|
|Criminal penalty||Death by lethal injection|
Mir Qazi (Pashto: مير أيمال كانسي) was a Pakistani national who was convicted of the 1993 shootings at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia. In the incident, Qazi killed two CIA employees and wounded another three. He soon fled to Kandahar, Afghanistan, which later became a Taliban stronghold, and went into hiding for four years, He was caught and arrested by FBI and ISI forces when he was in Pakistan. Upon returning to the US, he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. He was executed in 2002.
Qazi was an ethnic Pashtun born on either 10 February 1964 or 1 January 1967 in Quetta, Pakistan. He entered the United States in 1991 under the name Mir Aimal Kansi and was taking a substantial sum of cash he had inherited on the death of his father, in 1989. He traveled on forged papers that he had purchased in Karachi, Pakistan. He had altered his name to "Kansi" and later bought a fake US green card in Miami, Florida.
He stayed with a Kashmiri friend, Zahed Mir, in his Reston, Virginia apartment, and he invested in a courier firm for which he also was a spy. That work would be decisive in his choice of target: "I used to pass this area almost every day and knew these two left-turning lanes [were] mostly people who work for CIA."
According to Qazi, he first began to think of attacking CIA personnel after he bought a Chinese-made AK-47 from a Chantilly gun store. The plan soon became "more important than any other thing to [him]."
On January 25, 1993, Qazi stopped a borrowed brown Datsun station wagon behind a number of vehicles waiting at a red traffic light on the eastbound side of Route 123, Fairfax County. The vehicles were waiting to make a left turn into the main entrance of CIA headquarters. Qazi emerged from his vehicle with his semi-automatic Type 56 assault rifle and proceeded to move among the lines of vehicles, firing a total of 10 rounds into them, killing Lansing H. Bennett, 66, and Frank Darling, 28. Three others were left with gunshot wounds. Darling was shot first and later received additional gunshot wounds to the head after Qazi shot the other victims.
Qazi returned to his vehicle and drove to a nearby park. After 90 minutes of waiting, he realized that he was not being actively sought and so he drove back to his Reston apartment. He hid the rifle in a green plastic bag under a sofa, went to a McDonald's to eat, and booked himself into a Days Inn for the night. The CNN news reports he watched made it clear that police had misidentified his vehicle and did not have his license plate number. The next morning, he took a flight to Quetta, Pakistan. According to Qazi, he killed CIA employees because, "I was real angry with the policy of the U.S. government in the Middle East, particularly toward the Palestinian people," Qazi said in a prison interview with CNN affiliate WTTG.
On February 16, 1993, Qazi, then a fugitive, had been charged in absentia. The charges involved the capital murder of Darling, murder of Bennett, and three counts of malicious wounding for the other victims, along with related firearms charges.
Arrest and rendition
In May 1997, an informant walked into the U.S. consulate in Karachi and claimed he could help lead them to Qazi. As proof, he showed a copy of a driver license application made by Qazi under a false name but bearing his photograph. Apparently, the people who had been sheltering Qazi wanted the multimillion-dollar reward offer for his capture. Qazi stated, "I want to make it clear (that) the people who tricked me ... were Pushtuns, they were owners of land in the Leghari and Khosa clan areas in Dera Ghazi Khan, but I will never name them."
As Qazi was in the dangerous Durand Line border region, the informant was told to lure Qazi into Pakistan, where he could be more easily apprehended. Qazi was tempted with a lucrative business offer, smuggling Russian electronic goods into Pakistan, which brought him to Dera Ghazi Khan, in the Punjab province of Pakistan, where he checked into a room at Shalimar Hotel. At 4 a.m. on the morning of June 15, 1997, an armed team of FBI officers, working with the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence, raided Qazi's hotel room. His fingerprints were taken on the scene, confirming his identity. Sources disagree as to where Qazi was taken next. US authorities claim it was a holding facility run by Pakistani authorities, but Pakistani sources claim it was the US embassy in Islamabad before he was flown to the US on June 17 in a C-141 transport. During the flight, Qazi made a full oral and written confession to the FBI.
During the trial, the defense introduced testimony from Dr. Richard Restak, a neurologist and neuropsychiatrist, that Qazi was missing tissue from his frontal lobes, a congenital defect that made it hard for him to judge the consequence of his actions. That testimony was reiterated by another psychiatrist for the defense, based upon independent examination.
Qazi was tried at the Fairfax County Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, by a jury trial over a period of ten days in November 1997; he had pleaded not guilty to all charges. The jury found him guilty and recommended punishment for the capital murder charge as death. On February 4, 1998, Qazi was sentenced to death for the capital murder of Darling, who was shot at the beginning of the attack and again after the other victims had been shot. His other sentences of life imprisonment for the first-degree murder of Bennett, a 60 year sentence for the 3 malicious woundings, and fines totaling $600,000 were rendered moot by his execution.
Execution and burial
Qazi was executed by lethal injection on November 14, 2002, at Greensville Correctional Center, in Jarratt, Virginia. Qazi's body was repatriated to Pakistan; his funeral was attended by the entire civil hierarchy of Balochistan, the local Pakistan Army Corps Commander and the Pakistani Ambassador to the United States, Ashraf Jahangir Qazi. Mourning his death, the democratically-elected ruling provincial party, Mutahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) hailed him as "hero of Islam" and Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, an MNA from Quetta declared, "God, destroy those who handed him over to America. God, his murderers, whether in America or in Pakistan, may they meet their fate soon."
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