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Maradona and the ‘simple homicide’ trial

Prosecutors claim football legend’s death was result of ‘omissions’ by medics and a psychologist

Eight members of the medical staff who cared for the football superstar Diego Maradona are to be tried for homicide in Argentina.

The group, which includes doctors, nurses and a psychologist, are accused of “simple homicide”, a serious charge that means taking a life with intent. It carries a sentence of between eight and 25 years in prison.

In a 236-page ruling seen by Reuters, the judge in charge of an investigation into the Argentinian’s death questioned “the behaviours – active or by omission – of each of the accused” that “led to and contributed to the realisation of the harmful result”.

Maradona “was considered one of the greatest football players in history, though the diminutive player nicknamed ‘Pelusa’ for his long mane of hair and ‘D10S’ as a play on the Spanish word for ‘God’ using the number on his shirt, battled drug and alcohol abuse for years”, said The Guardian.

The newspaper noted that Argentinian prosecutors began investigations shortly after his death in November 2020 at a house near Buenos Aires, including ordering searches of properties of his personal doctor and investigating others involved in his care.

Last year, the panel of 20 experts appointed to examine his death found the star’s medical team acted in an “inappropriate, deficient and reckless manner”.

Maradona, who captained Argentina’s 1986 World Cup-winning team, was 60 when he died. He had undergone surgery for a blood clot on his brain a few weeks prior to his death from a heart attack.

Mario Baudry, a lawyer for one of Maradona’s sons, said that the former footballer was “in a situation of helplessness” by the time of his death. “As soon as I saw the cause, I said it was homicide,” he recalled. “I fought for a long time and here we are, with this stage completed.”

The defendants named in the document were Maradona’s neurosurgeon and personal doctor, Leopoldo Luque, psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, psychologist Carlos Diaz, nurses Gisella Madrid and Ricardo Almiron, their manager Mariano Perroni, and doctors Pedro Di Spagna and Nancy Forlini.

They have denied responsibility for Maradona’s death, and Vadim Mischanchuk, a lawyer acting for Cosachov, said they would appeal the decision. “A guilty party is being sought at all costs and objectivity is being lost,” the lawyer said.

The BBC noted that, in an “emotional” press conference in November 2020, Dr Luque had cried, saying he had done all he could to save the life of a friend.

He added: “You want to know what I am responsible for? For having loved him, for having taken care of him, for having extended his life, for having improved it to the end.”

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