Former Chiapas Gov. Pablo Salazar Mendiguchia, who was detained earlier this week on corruption charges, is on a hunger strike to protest his arrest, the politician's son said.

The politician has been on a hunger strike since the moment he was arrested earlier this week, Pablo Salazar Lopez said, adding that his father was willing to take his protest to the end.

"I'll leave here free or dead," he quoted the former governor as saying.

The jailed politician "is calm and strong," and he is leaving the legal wrangling to his lawyers, Salazar Lopez said.

Salazar Mendiguchia is being held at the El Amate prison in Cintalapa, a city about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital of Chiapas.

Salazar Mendiguchia, who was in office from 2000 to 2006, was arrested on Tuesday on charges that he and officials in his administration misappropriated 104 million pesos ($8.6 million), the Chiapas state Attorney General's Office said.

The former governor faces a 20-year prison sentence if convicted of the charges.

Salazar Mendiguchia paid himself and a group of former officials illegal bonuses, prosecutors allege.

The former governor has also been accused of misappropriating 3 billion pesos (about $250 million) of the 11 billion pesos ($915 million) provided by the federal government to Chiapas for the reconstruction of areas hit by a hurricane on Oct. 4, 2005.

Hurricane Stan killed about 70 people in Chiapas and damaged roads, bridges, schools and hospitals.

Chiapas, which has a large Indian population and is one of Mexico's poorest states, was the scene of the 1994 uprising led by the Zapatista National Liberation Army, or EZLN.

Salazar Mendiguchia won the governorship of Chiapas with the support of a coalition made up of several parties, including the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, and the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD.