Soccer-Pre-trial hearings begin in Maradona death case


FILE PHOTO: A man touches a mosaic made by the cultural organisation Comando Maradona as a homage to late Argentine soccer superstar Diego Armado Maradona, in Buenos Aires, Argentina February 25, 2021. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian/File Photo

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - An Argentine prosecutor began hearing evidence on Monday involving seven people accused of contributing to the death of soccer player Diego Maradona.

Maradona, the revered former Boca Juniors and Napoli star who had alcohol and drug addictions for many years, died last Nov. 25 from heart failure at the age of 60 after undergoing brain surgery earlier that month.

A medical board formally appointed to investigate Maradona’s death concluded that several members of the star’s medical team acted in an “inappropriate, deficient and reckless manner,” and said he was not properly monitored before he died.

Monday’s pre-trial hearing had been delayed by an increase in coronavirus infections in Argentina.

It began with questions to the nurse who, according to his own witness statement, was the last person to see Maradona alive.

Questions will be put in the coming days to Maradona’s doctor, psychologist, neurosurgeon and personal physician, amongst others.

When the medical board’s report was presented to prosecutors in May, it accused the defendants of carrying out a plan with a "criminal purpose" and as part of a deficient care system around Maradona that contributed to his death.

If found guilty, all seven could face between eight and 25 years in prison.

(Reporting by Ramiro Scandolo, writing by Andrew Downie; editing by Grant McCool)

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