Rochdale grooming gang members can't be deported from UK because of European Court of Human Rights, tribunal hears

The ringleader of a Rochdale grooming gang has so far avoided deportation

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An Immigration tribunal heard how it would be wrong to deport the two other gang members, who are currently fighting to stay in the UK.

51-year-old, Abdul Aziz, referred to by the gang as The Master, was told by the Home Office that despite losing an appeal depriving him of UK citizenship, the first step before deportation to Pakistan, he would not in fact lose his citizenship and was allowed to remain in the UK.

Aziz, Adil Khan, 51 and Qari Abdul Rauf, 52, were among nine gang members jailed in 2012 for a catalogue of child sex offences in Rochdale.

The accused were all liable to be stripped of UK citizenship and deported as they also held Pakistani nationality.

The then-Home Secretary Theresa May ruled it would be "conducive to the public good".

Since their release from jail, the gang members have fought a long legal battle against deportation, mounting multiple legal challenges and appeals, lasting several years, arguing how deportation to Pakistan would interfere with their human rights.

The grooming gang operated in the UK town of Rochdale
The grooming gang operated in the UK town of Rochdale

During the deportation appeal of Rauf and Khan at an Immigration Tribunal, it emerged Aziz had already been informed that he will not be stripped of his UK citizenship and deported.

Six years after he was jailed, Aziz renounced his Pakistani citizenship, but only days after his decision, the Court of Appeal ruled he could be deprived of his UK citizenship.

Rauf and Khan only renounced their Pakistani citizenship in September of the same year after the Court of Appeal ruling.

Lawyers for Rauf, who is legally aided, said the law demands consistency of treatment and although Rauf could regain his Pakistani nationality simply by signing a form, he refuses to do so because he does not want to be deported.

Khan told the hearing: “I have a question for the Home Secretary, whether Mr Aziz was an angel and I am a devil?”

Ringleader, Aziz, was jailed for nine years in 2012, for conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child by penetrative sex and trafficking for sexual exploitation of a 15-year-old girl.

His victim was taken to flats in Rochdale where she was forced to drink vodka and take drugs, then coerced into sex with gangs of men in return for payment to him.

The lawyers of Rauf said deportation would be a breach under articles of the European Court of Human Rights, arising out of their individual circumstances relating to their private and family life.

Khan, then in his 40s, impregnated one victim, refusing to accept the child was his until a DNA test was done.

He then met with the other girl he trafficked to others for sex, using violence when she objected.

Father-of-five, Rauf, trafficked a 15-year-old girl for sex, driving her to secluded areas to have sex with her in his taxi, then transporting her to a flat in Rochdale where he and others engaged in sex with her.

The hearing was adjourned with a decision on deportation expected later this year.