The detained son and political heir of Bangladesh's jailed former premier Khaleda Zia has been granted bail, a lawyer said on Thursday, opening the door for him to seek medical treatment abroad.
The family's doctors and lawyers allege Tareque Rahman became partially paralysed after being tortured in custody by the army-backed government.
Rahman who despite having no ministerial post was often referred to as the most powerful man in Bangladesh during Zia's stint as premier between 2001 and 2005 is being held in jail on 13 graft charges.
"Tareque Rahman has now been given bail on all charges. There's no legal hindrance to releasing him from jail. I'm expecting he'll be released in the next few days," his lawyer Nasir Uddin Ashim told AFP.
The release of Rahman is seen as key to the participation of Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in elections set for December, which will return the country to civilian rule.
The government has been trying to persuade Zia, also being held on corruption charges, to go overseas for medical treatment in exchange for the participation of the BNP in the elections.
But she has refused to co-operate unless Rahman, her eldest son, is released.
Dhaka University political professor Ataur Rahman said the government appeared to be moving closer to a deal with Zia.
"If Tareque is freed, he will be sent abroad for medical treatment and Zia will probably be released soon after," he said.
"This will enable her party to participate in the general elections."
A doctor, quoting from a medical report on Rahman, said earlier this month he was strung up on a wall and dropped, fracturing two bones in his back and was now suffering from "gradual wasting" of his lower limbs.
The government has not commented on the allegations.