Rochdale grooming gang members face deportation after losing appeal

Three members of a Rochdale grooming gang could be deported to Pakistan after losing their appeal against a decision to strip them of their British citizenship.

Court of Appeal judges upheld the decision, meaning Abdul Aziz, Adil Khan and Qari Abdul Rauf may have to leave the UK.

They were among nine men jailed in May 2012 after being found guilty of grooming and sexually exploiting young girls.

In some cases the girls, aged in their early teens, were raped and pimped out to paying customers in Rochdale and Oldham.

Aziz, Khan and Rauf were informed by the Home Office in 2015 that they would be stripped of their citizenship - which may eventually lead to their deportation.

Each of the men challenged the decision, arguing it amounted to a breach of their human rights.

However, their cases were rejected by both the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) and the Upper Tribunal.

The FTT said it had "no hesitation" in finding that, given the "grave nature" of their crimes, the consequences to the men and their families did not outweigh the public interest in depriving them of their citizenship.

The men took their case to the Court of Appeal and represented themselves at a hearing in July, during which Adil Khan said he was innocent of any crime.

They argued that the previous tribunals did not take enough account of the fact they may be deported as a result of the decision to remove their citizenship.

But, rejecting their appeals, Lord Justice Sales and two other judges ruled on Wednesday that the tribunals made a "proper and lawful assessment" of the likelihood of deportation.

The judge said: "Given the extremely serious nature of the offending by each appellant, there is no good ground for calling that conclusion into question.

"There was no error of law by the FTT."

All three men were found guilty of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children under the age of 16 and trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Aziz, 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 was jailed for six years and Khan for eight years.

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 if the Home Office does go ahead and 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.