GUATEMALA CITY -- Software company founder John McAfee was arrested by Guatemalan police for entering the country illegally, ending his bizarre weekslong journey as a blogging fugitive claiming to be persecuted by authorities in Belize.
The fate of the anti-virus guru remained unclear Thursday as Guatemalan authorities awaited word from their Foreign Ministry as to what they would do with McAfee and whether they intended to send him back to Belize, where he is a person of interest in the killing of a fellow ex-pat.
"We are awaiting instructions from the Foreign Ministry. It will be the foreign relations department that decides the process," Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla said following McAfee's arrest Wednesday at a hotel in an upscale part of Guatemala City.
Earlier on Wednesday, 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.
Since refusing to turn himself in to authorities in Belize, the 67-year-old had been in hiding, blogging his movements and calling reporters, until reappearing in Guatemala to claim asylum. He has not said how he crossed the border into Guatemala.
His lawyer in Guatemala, Telesforo Guerra, warned Wednesday night that McAfee's life would be in danger if he is returned to Belize.
"He will be in danger if he is returned to Belize, where he has denounced authorities," Guerra said. "From the moment he asked for asylum he has to have the protection of the Guatemalan government."
Guerra said he would ask that a judge look at McAfee's case as soon as possible.
Police in Belize deny they are persecuting McAfee and say there is no warrant for his arrest. The country's prime minister has even questioned McAfee's mental state. Since there are no restrictions on his travels, it's unclear why McAfee would need any special status in order to stay in Guatemala.
McAfee 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.
McAfee had engaged in a series of clashes with neighbors and authorities over allegations he kept aggressive dogs, illegal weapons and drug paraphernalia in his beachfront home on the island. McAfee acknowledges that his dogs were bothersome and that Faull had complained about them, but denies killing Faull.