Four members of a notorious grooming gang from Rochdale could be sent back to their home country of Pakistan after they lost their legal challenge to remain UK citizens.
The men were jailed after the court heard that five victims – the youngest was 13 when the abuse began – were plied with food, alcohol, drugs and gifts so they could be passed around a group of men for sex.
Ringleader Shabir Ahmed, 64, was jailed for 19 years after he was found guilty of 30 rape charges in 2012. including raping and sexually abusing a young Asian girl who he treated as his “possession” over many years.
Ahmed, who was known to his victims as ‘daddy’, had previously tried and failed to overturn his convictions at a European court, arguing it was an unfair trial because the jury were all white.
Adil Khan, 46, was given eight years for conspiracy and eight years, concurrently, for trafficking for sexual exploitation
Abdul Rauf, 47, a married father-of-five, was jailed for six years for conspiracy and six years, concurrently, for trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Abdul Aziz, 45, a taxi driver, was sentenced to nine years for conspiracy and nine years, concurrently, for trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Now the men face being deported to Pakistan after immigration judges rejected their appeals to keep UK citizenship.
The men’s claims were dismissed on all ground by the Upper Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber which now paves the way for the men, who all acquired British citizenship by naturalisation, to be sent back to Pakistan.
No time frame has been set for their deportation and concerns have been raised about other prisoners who were transferred to Pakistan and released by ‘corrupt’ officials after paying bribes.
The government wants the men to serve out their remaining sentences in Pakistan but the the UK/Pakistani prisoner transfer agreement, set up to ensure criminals continue their sentences once deported, is currently considered redundant.
There are suggestions UK officials may have no choice but to allow the men to stay in the country if they think there is a risk of them bribing their way out of prison because Pakistani children could be put in danger of abuse.
He is now calling for ministers to seek assurances from Pakistani officials that Ahmed, Aziz and Khan will complete their sentences if they are returned.
Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk, Speaking about the court decision, said: “I’m pleased this decision has finally been made. It’s been some time coming.
“I pressed Theresa May when she was Home Secretary to send these disturbing criminals back to serve their sentences.
“I also wrote to the Justice Minister last November to press the issue. We cannot have criminals like these hiding behind human rights laws in an attempt to serve their time in Britain instead of their country of origin.
“If they break the law, they should lose their right to live here.
“Now the wheels are in motion, we need to have them removed from the UK quickly.”
Handing down the judgment, Mr Justice Bernard McCloskey said the cases were ‘of some notoriety’, and described the men’s crimes as ‘shocking, brutal and repulsive’.