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Grenfell victim ‘denied human right to escape’

THE DAUGHTER of a Grenfell Tower victim launched a blistering attack on Kensington and Chelsea council today for housing a “vulnerable, physically disabled and partially sighted pensioner” on the 18th floor.

Nazanin Aghlani, daughter of Sakineh Afrasehabi, told the inquiry into the blaze, which killed 72 people last June, that the housing allocation team at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) shared responsibility for her mother’s death.

The 65-year-old Iranian grandmother, who moved to Britain in 1997, died with her sister Fatemeh, who was visiting on the night of the fire.

Ms Aghlani said: “As early as 2003, the RBKC housing department formally recognised and stated that, due to my mum’s disability and deteriorating health, she should not be housed in a lifted property above the fourth floor.

“I emphasise that was in 2003. Fourth floor, because that was her human right to escape, the right every single person should have.”

She said that, “after 16 years of waiting, she was rehoused in 2016 into flat 151 on the 18th floor of Grenfell Tower,” a move she said was “out of desperation and pressure from the council.”

Ms Aghlani added: “Every day, again and again, as our mind tries to make sense of this disastrous tragedy, we come to the conclusion that it was not only the horrifying fire that took my mum’s life that night.

“The discrimination and failure in duty of care by the housing allocations team which resulted in a vulnerable, physically disabled and partially sighted pensioner being housed on the 18th floor of a tower block equally took the life of my mum.

“Our mum lost her life not only due to the fire that night, but to the corporate negligence of the very people who were to ensure her safety. The very people who said, years before, that she was not to be housed above the fourth floor of a lifted building.”

Ms Afrasehabi’s son, Mohammed Samimi, asked the inquiry to remember his father, who he said was unable to come to Britain because his visa application was refused.

The inquiry will begin hearing formal evidence on Monday.

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