Eight medical personnel are set to stand trial for alleged criminal negligence that led to Argentine football great Diego Maradona's death while receiving post-surgery care.
A judge in Argentina on Wednesday ordered a culpable homicide trial for the eight, including Maradona's family doctor and nurses, based on evidence that they had failed to take "action that could have prevented the death" in November 2020.
No trial date has been set. Maradona died aged 60 while recovering from brain surgery for a blood clot. He was found dead two weeks after going under the knife, in a rented house in Buenos Aires where he was brought after being discharged from hospital.
A panel of 20 medical experts convened by Argentina's public prosecutor concluded last year that Maradona's treatment had "deficiencies and irregularities." It said the footballer "would have had a better chance of survival" with adequate treatment in an appropriate medical facility.
Brain surgeon Leopoldo Luque and psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov are among those who will stand trial for homicide, the judge ruled. The trial is not expected to begin until the end of 2023 or early 2024.
Argentine prosecutors launched investigations shortly after Maradona's death, including ordering searches of properties of his personal doctor and probing others involved in his care.
The defendants have denied responsibility for Maradona's death. The judge said that lawyers for some of them had requested the case be dismissed.
Vadim Mischanchuk, an attorney for Cosachov, said they would appeal the decision, adding the psychiatrist's area of care had no relation with Maradona's cause of death.
"A guilty party is being sought at all costs and objectivity is being lost," the lawyer said.
Maradona is widely considered one of the greatest footballers of all time. He led Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup and enjoyed a successful club career that spanned more than 20 years. He also had various short-term spells in management around the world, including with the Argentina national team, whom he led to the 2010 World Cup, and in the UAE with Al Wasl and Fujairah.