Three members of a Rochdale grooming gang face possible deportation to Pakistan after Court of Appeal judges upheld a decision to strip them of their British citizenship.
Abdul Aziz, Adil Khan and Qari Abdul Rauf were among nine men of Pakistani and Afghan descent convicted of luring girls as young as 13 into ***ual encounters using alcohol and drugs. They were based in Rochdale, in northern England.
Aziz, Khan and Rauf were informed by the Home Office in 2015 that they would be stripped of their British citizenship – which may eventually lead to their deportation. They each challenged the decision, arguing it amounted to a breach of their human rights, but their cases were rejected by both the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) and the Upper Tribunal.
The three men were jailed in May 2012 but were later released on licence. The gang’s ringleader, Shabir Ahmed, was sentenced to 22 years in jail and remains in custody.
Aziz, Khan and Rauf were convicted on conspiracy and trafficking for ***ual exploitation charges. Aziz was not convicted of having ***ual intercourse with any child.
The case centres on a decision by Prime Minister Theresa May, when she was home secretary, to strip the men’s citizenship “for the public good”.
The men had challenged the government decision at two immigration tribunals, arguing revoking their citizenship would violate their human right to a family life, as they have children living in the UK. Their appeals were dismissed.
The convicts then approached the Court of Appeal, senior judges of which ruled on Wednesday that the previous tribunals had made a “proper and lawful assessment” of the likelihood of deportation.
A person can be deprived of British citizenship for the public
After serving their sentences, the three convicts will have a further legal right to appeal their deportation and the process could take months.
Aziz, of Armstrong Hurst Close, who was one of the ringleaders of the grooming gang and referred to by some of the others as The Master, was jailed for nine years.
Married father-of-five Abdul Rauf, of Darley Road, was jailed for six years and Khan, of Oswald Street, Rochdale, for eight years. Outlining their offending, Lord Justice Sales said: ‘All the men treated the girls as though they were worthless and beyond all respect. ‘They were motivated by lust and greed.’
The judge said that, in the event the Home Office does decide to deport the men, they will each have the right to appeal and will be ‘entitled’ to argue that deportation would infringe their human rights and those of their family members.