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Relatives upset that visa issues prevented them paying tribute in person

Some were unable to give commemoration statements directly.

Bereaved family members, prevented from paying tribute to their loved ones who died in Grenfell Tower in person because of visa issues, have told of their heartbreak.

Karim Khaloufi, the younger brother of victim Khadija Khaloufi, 52, was unable to attend the public inquiry after suffering delays with his visa.

And the husband of Fatemeh Afrasiabi, 59, missed the chance to pay tribute to his beloved wife or visit her grave because his immigration application was refused.

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Fatemeh Afrasiabi died with her sister Sakineh (Grenfell Tower Inquiry/PA)

Mr Khaloufi’s solicitor, Balvinder Gill said he finally obtained a visa but there were “related difficulties in securing support with accommodation and related problems”.

A groan of anger rang out around the room.

She told the inquiry, on the last day of commemorative hearings: “He is very, very upset that he cannot be here, he prepared the pen portrait, he wanted to present it on behalf of his sister.

“There is no other family here in the UK who could read it out on his behalf.”

No-one seems to care about our history or relationship to this case, or to care about our pain, our heartache or our desire for answers Karim Khaloufi

Counsel to the inquiry Bernard Richmond said “very strenuous efforts were made” to try to get him to the hearing.

Mr Khaloufi closed his statement saying: “Today it is nearly five months since I and my mother applied for a visa to the UK.

“We had been led to believe that we could be in London for the inquiry, but now does not seem to be the case.

“No-one seems to care about our history or relationship to this case, or to care about our pain, our heartache or our desire for answers.

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Khadija Khaloufi was another victim of the blaze (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA)

“I am now at a loss as to what I can do to defend my family’s rights in this case and to represent my sister, who seems to have no representation.”

Earlier the inquiry heard from the son of Ms Afrasiabi, Mohammed Samimi.

Mrs Afrasiabi, 59, was staying in flat 151 on the night of the fire with her older sister, Sakineh Afrasiabi, who lived on the 18th floor.

Surrounded by his siblings and relatives, Mr Samimi explained to the room why his father was absent.

He said through an interpreter: “I wanted to take this opportunity to remember my father, who could not come to the UK, his visa application was refused, and he says that ‘I am spending my days and nights by the thought of my children and I want to be able to visit my wife’s grave’.”

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