Mexico City – Pablo Salazar Mendiguchia, the former governor of Mexico's Chiapas state, ended a five-day hunger strike over the weekend at the prison where he has been held since his arrest on corruption charges, defense attorney Alfredo Dominguez said Monday.
The decision to end the protest was made "due to very justified concerns on the part of his family, especially on the part of Don Pablo's mother (Deifilia Salazar), who is a person of advanced age," the attorney told MVS radio.
The former governor's son, Pablo Salazar Lopez, also expressed concern about the "health consequences" of the hunger strike, Dominguez 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 last 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.
Prosecutors are also looking into the former governor's responsibility in a case involving the deaths of 30 newborns at a hospital in the city of Comitan in December 2002.
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.