Guatemalan authorities have arrested American software guru John McAfee for illegally entering the country and said they will deport him to Belize, where he is being sought by police in connection with a murder.
Presidential spokesman Francisco Cuevas told Efe Wednesday evening, shortly after McAfee's arrest, that the American would be sent back to Belize "in the coming hours" in compliance with a request by authorities there.
Cuevas said McAfee was detained by Guatemala police, with assistance from Interpol, for entering and remaining illegally in that Central American country and was being held at an immigration detention facility pending deportation.
McAfee, 67, creator of the anti-virus software program that bears his name, had formally requested asylum in Guatemala earlier Wednesday.
He told reporters the day before that he was being politically persecuted by the "very corrupt" Belize government, adding that soldiers had been sent to harass him after he stopped making political donations.
The eccentric millionaire had remained in hiding for several weeks and had put out false clues about his whereabouts on his blog to elude Belize authorities, who want to question him about the Nov. 10 murder of fellow American ex-pat Gregory Faull, his neighbor on the island of Ambergris Caye.
McAfee's attorney, Belize-born Guatemalan Telesforo Guerra, told reporters Wednesday night that his client "is not a fugitive" and therefore "should not have been arrested."
Guerra added that he will file a petition with immigration officials for McAfee's immediate release.
"The excuse is that they arrested him for entering Guatemala illegally, but that's not true. Interpol arrested him at Belize's request. If they hand him over to that country, whose authorities have extorted and harassed him, his life will be at risk," the attorney said. EFE