McAfee denied asylum in Guatemala, rushed to hospital

Reports had said fugitive anti-virus pioneer could be deported back to Belize as soon as today, but illness may cause delay

Guatemala has denied fugitive anti-virus pioneer John McAfee's appeal for asylum there, though an apparent hospitalization may delay his deportation, reports say.

McAfee was rushed to the hospital by ambulance this afternoon, reportedly after suffering convulsions.

Earlier, the Reuters news agency had reported that Guatamalan officials had decided to send the 67-year old former tech guru back to neighboring Belize, where he is wanted for questioning in connection with a murder that occurred several weeks ago.

Guatemala Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla told Reuters that McAfee could be deported as soon as today.

"Asylum has been denied and we don't have any obligation to say why," Guatemala Foreign Minister Harold Caballeros told Reuters in a separate report.

McAfee, who has been blogging intermittently on a site maintained by his supporters, desperately appealed for backers to email requests to halt the planned deportation to Guatamalan officials.

"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. Please PLEASE be very POLITE in your communications, and I thank you," McAfee said.

Guatemalan authorities arrested McAfee on Wednesday on charges that the 67-year old former tech guru had entered the country illegally.

McAfee has been on the run from Belize authorities since Nov. 10, when his neighbor and fellow American Gregory Faull, was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head. McAfee and the 52-year old Faull are alleged to have had a quarrel over several guard dogs that McAfee owned.

Police in Belize have claimed that he is only a person of interest in the case, not a murder suspect.

McAfee, who has had previous run-ins with Belize police, insists that his life would be in danger if he surrendered to them.

In a series of media interviews while on the run, McAfee claimed that he had nothing to do with Faull's murder and claimed that he was looking mainly to find safe harbor for his girlfriend.

In a blog post allegedly written in a Guatemala jail early Thursday, McAfee expressed relief at arriving safely in Guatemala. "I am in jail in Guatemala. Vastly superior to Belize jails," McAfee blogged. "The coffee is also excellent."

Earlier, in an interview with ABC News, McAfee had praised Guatemala as a place "where there is some sanity."

McAfee founded McAfee Inc., now a subsidiary of Intel, in 1987. He has had little association with the antivirus software company in recent years.

He moved to Belize several years ago to establish a drug company called QuorumEx.

Earlier this year, Belize's Gang Suppression Unit raided McAfee's home on suspicion that he was running a meth lab and found close to $20,000 in cash, several shotguns and pistols and hundreds of bullets. All the guns were licensed and that the lab was manufacturing an herbal antibacterial compound.

In recent interviews with media outlets, McAfee has maintained that the raid was politically motivated and was carried out to intimidate him.

In the interview with ABC News, McAfee chafed at what he described as the mainstream media's unfair characterization of his recent behavior. While admitting to being " foolish" for putting himself in his present situation, McAfee insisted that his actions were rational and well thought out.

He insisted that his spirits are high despite his recent troubles and that he intends to defend his innocence in Belize.

"One poster asked, in a kindly way, whether I felt like killing myself,' McAfee said in a blog post early today. "My reply: 'I enjoy living, and suicide is absurdly redundant. The world, from the very beginning, hurls viruses, accidents, hungry animals, defective DNA -- and uncountable more - in an attempt to kill us. It always succeeds. Suicide is simply aiding and abetting.'"

Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at @jaivijayan, or subscribe to Jaikumar's RSS feed . His e-mail address is jvijayan@computerworld.com.

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