Software company founder John McAfee was arrested by police in Guatemala on Wednesday for entering the country illegally, hours after he said he would seek asylum in the Central American country.
The anti-virus guru was detained at a hotel in an upscale Guatemala City neighbourhood with the help of Interpol agents and taken to an old, three-storey building used to house migrants who enter the country illegally, said Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla.
It was the latest twist in a bizarre tale that has seen Mr. McAfee refused to turn himself in to authorities in Belize, where he is a person of interest in the killing of a neighbour, then go on the lam, updating his progress on a blog and claiming to be hiding in plain sight, before secretly crossing the border into Guatemala.
“He will be in danger if he is returned to Belize, where he has denounced authorities,” said his lawyer in Guatemala, Telesforo Guerra. “His life is in danger.”
Mr. Guerra said he would ask that a judge look at Mr. McAfee’s case as soon as possible. “From them moment he asked for asylum he has to have the protection of the Guatemalan government.”
Earlier Wednesday, Mr. McAfee said he had formally requested asylum in Guatemala after entering the country from Belize, where he says he fears for his safety because he has sensitive information about official corruption and refused to donate to local politicians.
“Yes, we are presenting this, and I want it to be clear, because of the persecution, not because of the murder,” he told the AP about his asylum bid.
Police in Belize deny they are persecuting Mr. McAfee and say there is no warrant for his arrest. The country’s prime minister has even questioned Mr. McAfee’s mental state. Since there are no restrictions on his travels, it’s unclear why Mr. McAfee would need any special status in order to stay in Guatemala.
The 67-year-old went on the run last month after officials tried to question him about the killing of Gregory Viant Faull, who was shot to death in early November on the Belize island where both men lived.