Paraguay's Supreme Court has quashed a 10-year prison sentence imposed on the country's ex-army chief, Lino Oviedo, for attempting a coup in 1996.
Gen Oviedo has never hidden his political ambitions
The judges ruled after several military commanders testified last week that there had never been a coup plot.
Gen Oviedo had already been released from prison on parole in September after serving half his sentence.
The court's ruling clears the way for Gen Oviedo, long a prominent figure in Paraguay, to run for president in 2008.
Gen Oviedo, 64, was convicted in 1998 of a coup plot in 1996 and arrested after returning from exile in Brazil in 2004.
He has remained popular among some sectors of Paraguayan society, and his supporters have always argued his conviction and sentence were politically motivated.
The general himself has never abandoned his political ambitions, which have now been boosted by the court's decision to quash his sentence.
It is expected that Gen Oviedo will now put himself forward as the candidate for his own Unace (National Union of Ethical Citizens) party to contest the April 2008 presidential poll.
Gen Oviedo initially rose to prominence in February 1989.
He played a prominent part in the uprising that overthrew the regime of Gen Alfredo Stroessner and set the country on the path back to civilian government.
Before being jailed, he pursued political ambitions, first within the governing Colorado Party and then as head of Unace.
But his jail term stemmed from a short-lived 1996 rebellion against then-President Juan Carlos Wasmosy.
Gen Oviedo always denied plotting against Mr Wasmosy, who was Paraguay's first elected civilian president after Gen Stroessner was ousted.