Brother of man who set himself on fire blames municipality for death

Dutch police crime scene tape
Dutch police crime scene tapePhoto: Politie

Cor den Dekker blames the municipality of Oss for the death of his brother Arie on Monday. Arie den Dekker set himself on fire at the Oss town hall, out of desperation according to his lawyer, and later died of his injuries in hospital.

"Arie completely lost it. They kept him on a leash for so long. They should have given him a house where he could live with some dogs," brother Cor said to Omroep Brabant. He, along with friends and family, gathered at the town hall on Monday evening to see mayor Wobine Buijs. Cor will return every day until he can speak to her, he said to the broadcaster. "I'll go upstairs if she doesn't come down. Then 20 or 50 police officers can come, I don't care. I have always kept quiet. But what happened to my brother now cannot be approved."

Arie den Dekker became homeless after entering the witness protection program. He testified in the assassination of Peter Netten in 2018. A short time later, a fire bomb was thrown into the home he rented in Oss and it burned to the ground. The authorities moved him from residence to residence until he once told someone that he was in witness protection, according to Omroep Brabant. That is against the rules, so his protection program was put to an end in April last year.

The municipality of Oss would not allow him to live in his old municipality, because the chance of an attack was too great, according tot he broadcaster. Den Dekker pleaded for help multiple times with various protest actions. 

According to Cor, the municipality made promises about a home for Arie that they did not keep. "I told the municipality many times that they had to help my brother. They have a duty of care. My brother was a guy who made mistakes in his life, but that was in the past." 

Mayor Buijs released a statement on Monday, calling the situation terrible. "We spent years working with the Public Prosecution Service and the police to help this man. That took a lot of time, effort and money. And somewhere you always have the idea that the moment may come that it didn't work out. That happened today. We wish the family a lot of strength."