Eight members of the medical team dealing with famous soccer star Diego Maradona before his death two years ago have been charged with murders in Argentina.
The legendary star was 60 years old when he died of cardiac arrest on November 25, 2020. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, he has struggled throughout his career with drug and alcohol addiction. In a 236-page court ruling reviewed by Reuters, the judge pointed the finger at doctors, nurses and a psychiatrist who treated him in his final days.
“As soon as I saw the reason, I said he was killed,” Mario Baudri, a lawyer for one of Maradona’s sons, told Reuters. “I fought for a long time and here we are, with this phase complete.”
Maradona: The trial of the medical staff for the murder of the football legend https://t.co/74B1QTfah6
– BBC News (world) (BBCWorld) June 23, 2022
A medical committee tasked with investigating Maradona’s death decided last year that the medical team had acted “in an inappropriate, deficient and reckless manner”. In Wednesday’s ruling, the judge raised the possibility that “the behaviors – whether active or by omission – of each accused led to and contributed to the adverse outcome.”
Those accused of the murders include Maradona’s personal physician, Leopoldo Luc, psychiatrist Agustina Kozakov, psychiatrist Carlos Diaz, nurses Gisela Madrid and Ricardo Almiron, their supervisor Mariano Peroni, and doctors Pedro de Spagna and Nancy Forlini.
Each could face between eight and 25 years in prison if convicted.
Kosachev’s lawyer, Vadim Michanchuk, vowed to appeal the decision, insisting that his client’s treatment had nothing to do with Maradona’s death.
“A guilt is being sought at any cost and objectivity is lost,” the lawyer told Reuters.
Maradona, along with fellow legend Pele, was selected as the FIFA Co-Players of the 20th Century, and was known for his superb passing and dribbling skills. But he was addicted to cocaine for decades, even though he was an international star playing for professional teams in Barcelona and Naples.
After his career, Maradona was a coach for over a decade. He was overweight, and reportedly weighed nearly 300 pounds – at a height of just 5 feet 5 inches – before he underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2005.
Weeks before his death, Maradona was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, and then underwent emergency brain surgery. He was released on November 12 and was in the care of his medical team at his home in Buenos Aires until his death. He was so popular that after his death, his body rested in the Presidential Palace of Argentina as a large line of mourners passed by to pay their respects.