FOR days, Maria Magdalena Saldana has hooked gold chain encircling her waist to the gate bulwarking one of Nicaragua's most notorious prisons.

And she vows to stay there - consuming nothing but water - until President Daniel Ortega's government releases her son, who was detained last week without explanation during a police raid on his house.

''As a mother, I am desperate,'' Saldana pleas, her voice cracking through tears as several security guards observe across the fence.

''Let the world know what a Nicaragua mother suffers,'' she says clutching her son's release order from a Managua appeals court, which she says has gone ignored.

''My heart hurts,'' she says. ''My soul hurts.''

On June 12, police forcibly arrested her son Wilder Octavio Garcia Saladana, 37, and took him to the infamous EI Chipote prison, shrouded in lush green vegetation atop the capital Managua.

The institution's reputation for brutality is as deeply entrenched as its underground cells, which reach far beneath a rugged hill in the city's center.

Saldana is one of an estimated 2,000 people who have been incarcerated at EI Chipote since the start in April of a popular uprising against Ortega, a former leftist guerrilla who since 2007 has gripped power for three consecutive terms.

His mother has joined dozens of people protesting the sudden imprisonment of their relatives and friends.

''The only ''crime'' i think my son has committed is to march,'' she said referring to mass antigovernment demonstrations that have been met with a bloody crackdown, leaving at least 178 people dead in two months.

''He raised the flag of Nicaragua, the patriotic symbol of our country'' she cries.

''We want liberty''.

The sadness of serving and honor of this subject, and publishing, continues.


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