John McAfee's final hours: Why did the 'exemplary prisoner' ask to be alone in his cell?

The 75-year-old anti-virus software creator was found hanging in his Spanish prison cell on June 23


                            John McAfee's final hours: Why did the 'exemplary prisoner' ask to be alone in his cell?
John McAfee was found hanging in his prison cell in Spain (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

John McAfee reportedly spent around two hours alone in his jail cell before allegedly taking his life. The 75-year-old anti-virus software creator reportedly died by suicide on Wednesday, June 23. As per reports, he was distraught after knowing that his extradition to the US had been approved by a court despite him pleading to Spanish authorities that he was in bad health and should not be transferred to the US to answer charges for tax evasion.

McAfee was arrested in October 2020 by the National Police after US prosecutors accused him of tax evasion. Since then, he had been behind bars at the Barcelona prison Brians 2, located in Sant Esteve de Sesrovires. On June 23, at around four in the evening, the tech pioneer got to know about the court’s decision.

He reportedly asked jail staff members if he could go to his cell, which was empty because his cellmate was not there at the time, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais.

And since McAfee was not deemed suicidal by jail authorities, his wish was fulfilled. This is a right that prisoners have when they do not have any activities in the afternoon, according to prison sources. 

Two hours later, around 6pm, prison guards found McAfee hanging in his cell.

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McAfee was sent to the Barcelona prison on October 4, 2020 when he was arrested by the National Police after US prosecutors accused McAfee of tax evasion. During the nine months that he was in the prison, his behavior was exemplary, according to sources from the penitentiary.

He didn’t cause any problems nor received any disciplinary action. These sources described him as “a financial crimes prisoner with an absolutely normal life.”

According to reports, Spain’s High Court, the Audiencia Nacional’s verdict was a big blow for McAfee, who was infamous for his love for drugs, sex, and scandal. The entrepreneur had alleged that he was being politically persecuted for his “activism” against the US tax system. But the court said, “There is no supporting evidence that such a thing could be happening,” before adding that McAfee’s allegations had “more to do with subjective convictions and allegedly exculpatory justifications that have no solid base in reality.” The Audiencia Nacional also stated that McAfee’s “importance socially, economically, or in any other area” did not “give him immunity.”

John McAfee pulls up the curtain on the window in his room at the Beacon Hotel where he is staying after arriving last night from Guatemala on December 13, 2012 in Miami Beach, Florida. McAfee is a "person of interest" in the fatal shooting of his neighbor in Belize and turned up in Guatemala after a month on the run in Belize. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The software entrepreneur had also asked for permission to remain in Spain on humanitarian grounds. His defense team had told the court that sending McAfee back to the US would mean life imprisonment for him. The lawyers had also put forward McAfee’s ill health argument. But the court dismissed them by saying, “This is not life imprisonment, even in the case most unfavorable to his interests.” The court stated that McAfee had no “serious health problems”.

McAfee’s death has been ruled as a suicide. His attorney, Javier Villalba, confirmed it and said, “This is the result of a cruel system that had no reason to keep this man in jail for so long.” But prison authorities were said to be shocked. Jail sources described him as, “A prisoner for economic crimes with an absolutely normal life.” McAfee had even said in October 2020 that he won’t commit suicide. He had tweeted, “I am content in here. I have friends. The food is good. All is well. Know that if I hang myself, a la Epstein, it will be no fault of mine.”



 

 

John McAfee talks to the media outside Beacon Hotel where he is staying after arriving last night from Guatemala on December 13, 2012 in Miami Beach, Florida. McAfee is a "person of interest" in the fatal shooting of his neighbor in Belize and turned up in Guatemala after a month on the run in Belize. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, after McAfee’s death, former NSA consultant and data privacy advocate Edward Snowden, tweeted, “Europe should not extradite those accused of non-violent crimes to a court system so unfair—and prison system so cruel—that native-born defendants would rather die than become subject to it. Julian Assange could be next. Until the system is reformed, a moratorium should remain.”



 

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