News Column

Guatemala Denies Asylum to John McAfee

Dec 6, 2012

Guatemalan President Otto Perez refused Thursday to grant asylum to software millionaire John McAfee, who was being detained by Guatemalan immigration authorities.

McAfee, a US citizen, collapsed and was taken to hospital after of hearing Perez's refusal. It was not clear whether he fainted or suffered a heart attack.

Perez said he would refuse McAfee's asylum request at an improvised press conference.

Soon afterwards, McAfee posted a reaction in his blog.

"Please email the President of Guatemala and beg him to allow the court system to proceed, to determine my status in Guatemala, and please support the political asylum that I am asking for," he asked supporters.

The anti-virus software mogul has been detained since Wednesday by Guatemalan immigration authorities while they considered his deportation to his native United States or Belize, where he is wanted for questioning in connection with a murder.

"McAfee was detained because he violated immigration law" by entering the country without registering, presidential spokesman Francisco Cuevas told reporters late Wednesday.

The detention took place at a Guatemala City hotel. McAfee was taken to a shelter for illegal migrants, under strict security measures. In his blog on Thursday, before Perez's decision became public, McAfee said that he had been granted access to a computer and "excellent coffee."

"Only time will tell what will happen," he said.

McAfee said he had requested help from the US embassy but was told there was nothing it could do.

"I asked to be returned to the States, and again ... nothing they can do," he said.

Belize, however, also emerged as a possible destination if he is deported, since it is the place where he last resided formally.

McAfee said he still planned to address a press conference later Thursday, despite his detention.

McAfee, who developed and marketed the anti-virus software of the same name, entered Guatemala by boat from Belize, where he is wanted in connection with the death of a fellow US expatriate.

He formally requested political asylum in Guatemala Wednesday, claiming that the Belize authorities wanted to kill him. He told CNN on Monday that he feared for his life after refusing to pay a bribe a politician.

Belize police have said they want to question him over the death of Gregory Viant Faull, who was found shot dead in his home on the country's Ambergris Caye on November 10. The software mogul has not been charged in connection with the case.

When police went to McAfee's home to question him, he hid and then escaped.

Faull was the co-author of a letter complaining about noisy dogs and guards on McAfee's nearby property shortly before his death.

McAfee's lawyer Telesforo Guerra, a former Guatemalan attorney general as well as former legal council to two of the country's former presidents, denounced his client's detention, noting that he was not wanted by Guatemalan authorities. Guerra said he would request his release.

Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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