Eight people who took care of the Argentinian football superstar Diego Maradona will be tried for homicide, according to a ruling released on Wednesday following an investigation into his death from cardiac arrest.
In the 236-page document seen by Reuters, the judge in charge of the case questioned “the behavior – active or by omission – of each of the accused which led to and contributed to the realisation of the harmful result”.
The ruling said eight people including doctors, nurses and a psychologist who cared for Maradona at the time of his death in 2020 are accused of “simple homicide,” a serious charge that means taking a life with intentions. A medical board appointed to investigate Maradona’s death concluded in 2021 that his medical team acted in an “inappropriate, deficient and reckless manner”.
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.
Mario Baudry, a lawyer for one of Maradona’s sons, told Reuters that the World Cup winner was “in a situation of helplessness” by the time of his death. Maradona died on 25 November 2020, at the age of 60.
“As soon as I saw the cause, I said it was homicide,” he said. “I fought for a long time and here we are, with this stage completed.”
Argentinian prosecutors began investigations shortly after Maradona’s death at a house near Buenos Aires, including ordering searches of properties of his personal doctor and probing others involved in his care. The defendants named in the ruling were: Maradona’s neurosurgeon and personal doctor, Leopoldo Luque; his psychiatrist, Agustina Cosachov; his psychologist, Carlos Diaz; two nurses, Gisella Madrid and Ricardo Almiron; their boss, Mariano Perroni; and two 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 the case to be dismissed.
Vadim Mischanchuk, an attorney for Cosachov, said they would appeal against the decision, adding that the psychiatrist’s area of care had no relation with the cause of death. “A guilty party is being sought at all costs and objectivity is being lost,” the lawyer said.
Reuters could not immediately reach the defendants or the other lawyers for comment.
The crime of “simple homicide” in Argentina usually leads to a prison sentence of between eight and 25 years, according to the country’s penal code. There is no set date for the trial yet.