Software company founder John McAfee was yesterday hospitalised after being denied political asylum in Guatemala.
His lawyers said they were making a last-ditch effort to keep him from being flown to Belize for questioning about the killing of a fellow American expatriate.
McAfee, 67, told The Associated Press he had suffered chest pains over-night but didn’t believe he had suffered a heart attack.
A government doctor agreed, saying McAfee’s heart rhythm and blood pressure were normal, and he appeared to be suffering from high stress.
McAfee was moved from an immigration centre to a police-run hospital after Guatemalan authorities said his request for asylum had been denied. They did not explain why.
Shortly after the decision was announced, McAfee issued a plea on his blog for the public to petition Guatemalan president Otto Perez Molina to let him stay.
The post read: “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.”
McAfee’s legal team said they were preparing to appeal the denial of asylum to the country’s constitutional court, a process that could give McAfee perhaps another day or two in Guatemala.
The court would have to issue a decision within 48 hours.
McAfee’s arrest onWednesday for illegally entering the country ended a bizarre, weeks-long journey as a self-styled fugitive.
Police hope to question him about the fatal shooting of Gregory Viant Faull in early November on the Belize island where both he and McAfee lived.
There is no warrant for McAfee’s arrest, so it is possible his self-initiated flight from Belizean authority could end up with him free to roam the Caribbean island where he lived for years, often clashing with neighbours and authorities over allegations he kept aggressive dogs, weapons, and drug paraphernalia on his property.
McAfee was updating his blog yesterday after being given a computer by the warden at the migration centre in Guatemala City.
He said US embassy officials had said they couldn’t help him with a request to be returned to the US instead of Belize.
McAfee said he had formally requested asylum in Guatemala as he fears for his safety because he has sensitive information about official corruption and refused to donate to local politicians.
Since refusing to turn himself in to authorities in Belize, he had been in hiding, blogging his movements and calling reporters, until reappearing in Guatemala to claim asylum.
Police in Belize deny they are persecuting McAfee.
The country’s prime minister has even questioned McAfee’s mental state.
The Faull family has said through a representative that the murder of their loved one on Ambergris Caye has been lost in the media frenzy provoked by McAfee’s manipulation of the media through phone calls, emails, and blog posts detailing his life on the run.
McAfee grabbed global attention with regular phone calls with reporters and blog updates.
He claimed to be wearing disguises and watching as police raided his house. It was unclear, however, how much of what McAfee — a confessed practical joker — said and wrote was true.
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