Eight people who took care of football legend Diego Maradona will be tried in Argentinian courts for homicide, according to a court ruling following an investigation into his death by cardiac arrest in November 2020.
On Wednesday, a judge ordered a culpable homicide trial for the eight, who include Maradona’s family doctor and nurses, based on evidence that they had failed to take “action that could have prevented the death”.
The defendants named in the ruling were Maradona’s neurosurgeon and personal doctor, Leopoldo Luque, psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, psychologist Carlos Diaz, nurses Gisella Madrid and Ricardo Almiron, their boss Mariano Perroni, and doctors Pedro Di Spagna and Nancy Forlini.
The defendants have denied responsibility for Maradona’s death. The judge said lawyers for some of them had requested that the case be dismissed.
Maradona died aged 60 while recovering from brain surgery for a blood clot. He had battled cocaine and alcohol addictions for decades.
He was found dead in bed two weeks after going under the knife, in a rented house in an exclusive Buenos Aires neighbourhood where he was brought after being discharged from hospital.
The judge in charge of the case questioned: “the behaviours – active or by omission – of each of the accused which led to and contributed to the realisation of the harmful result”.
A medical board appointed to investigate Maradona’s death concluded in 2021 that the football star’s medical team acted in an “inappropriate, deficient and reckless manner”.
Maradona was considered one of the greatest footballers in history, nicknamed “Pelusa” for his long mane of hair and “D10S” as a play on the Spanish word for “God” using his jersey number.
He became an idol to millions of Argentinians after he inspired the South American country to their second World Cup triumph in 1986.
Mario Baudry, a lawyer for one of Maradona’s sons, told Reuters news agency that the World Cup winner was “in a situation of helplessness” by the time of his death.
“As soon as I saw the cause, I said it was a homicide. I fought for a long time and here we are, with this stage completed,” he said.
The crime of “simple homicide” in Argentina usually leads to a sentence of eight to 25 years in prison, according to the country’s penal code.
There is no set date for the trial yet.