Hearings into Diego Maradona's death begin in Argentina

Prosecutors in San Isidro, Argentina, began hearings Monday concerning the seven medical professionals facing charges of "simple homicide with eventual intent" in the death of Diego Maradona.

The hearings had been scheduled to start on May 31 but were postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Argentina legend Maradona died on Nov. 25, 2020, of heart failure, two weeks after undergoing brain surgery. He was 60.

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Following a medical board review, a report was published on May 1 which said the medical team that had attended Maradona prior to his death acted in an "inappropriate, deficient and reckless manner" and left him "to his own devices."

The report said Maradona was seriously unwell and not properly monitored for around 12 hours before his death.

Nurse Ricardo Omar Almiron, who was responsible for looking after Maradona during the night shifts and was among the last ones to see the former player alive, is the first to appear before prosecutors.

Almiron, 38, is being accused of not aiding Maradona during his final days.

Among those indicted are neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque, who performed the brain operation on Maradona, and psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, who treated the former Napoli star.

Two nurses, including Almiron, a nurse coordinator, a doctor and a psychologist are also among the charged.

Maradona's family has demanded justice and holds Luque among those responsible for his death. Luque and Cosachov have denied any wrongdoing.

The hearings are expected to last until July 28, and a judge will then determine if the case will go to trial.

If found guilty, those accused could face between eight to 25 years in prison.

The indicted individuals are not permitted to leave the country as per the request of San Isidro's prosecutors' office.

Maradona had drug and alcohol addictions during his life. The autopsy determined that he died in his sleep of acute pulmonary edema, a buildup of fluid in the lungs, because of congestive heart failure.

The toxicology report detected no alcohol or illegal substances, but psychotropic drugs used to treat anxiety and depression were present.

Argentina declared three days of mourning after Maradona's death< and thousands queued to pay their respect as his body lay in state at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires.

A 1986 World Cup winner with Argentina, Maradona played for Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla, Boca Juniors and Argentinos Juniors, and is universally accepted as one of the greatest footballers of all time.