GUATEMALA CITY (AP) - Software company founder John McAfee has surfaced in public for the first time in weeks, saying Tuesday that he plans to ask for asylum in Guatemala because he fears persecution in Belize.
McAfee spoke to The Associated Press in a restaurant near a high-end hotel where he is staying in Guatemala City after sneaking out of neighboring Belize. Police in Belize have called him a person of interest in the November slaying of a fellow American ex-pat.
McAfee says he is being persecuted by the Belizean government, and he has sensitive information about official corruption in the country where he lived in a compound guarded by aggressive dogs and armed guards.
"I need a safe place where I can actually speak out," McAfee said. "Now that I'm here I can speak freely. I can speak openly."
He told the Associated Press that he will petition the Guatemalan government to allow him to stay. McAfee said he fears he will be killed if he turns himself in for questioning in Belize.
"Belize does not have a good track record of providing safety when they ask to question you," he said. "I felt much more secure crossing the border into a country that had laws that were backed by the justice system."
McAfee is wanted for questioning in connection with the killing of Gregory Viant Faull, who was shot to death at the Belize island where they both had homes in early November.
"I am absolutely innocent," McAfee
The Faull family has said through a representative that the murder of their loved one on Ambergris Caye has gotten lost in the media frenzy provoked by McAfee's manipulation of the press through phone calls, emails and blog posts detailing his life on the lam.