Muslim grooming gang stripped of UK citizenship to be deported

Eight of nine men who were convicted of a variety of offences connected with a child sexual exploitation ring CREDIT: GETTY

Three members of a UK Muslim grooming gang have been stripped of their British citizenship and face deportation as a Judge said it is for the “public good” that they return to Pakistan. 

Abdul Aziz, Adil Khan and Qari Abdul Rauf were jailed alongside six other men for the crimes in 2012, but they appealed against a decision by then Home Secretary Theresa May to remove their citizenship and allow them to be deported.

Yesterday they lost their third appeal case against the decision, made in 2015, as Lord Justice Sales said their offences amounted to “serious organised crime”, allowing the Government the right to remove their citizenship.

All three of the men have British children and had challenged the decision on the basis that it violated their right to a family life.

They will now be allowed to appeal the decision if deportation orders are signed against them but the process could take months. The men are currently behind bars.

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The men were part of a gang which targeted teenage girls in Rochdale. In some cases the girls, aged in their early teens, were raped and pimped out to paying customers in local towns.

All three men from Rochdale involved in the appeal were found guilty of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children under the age of 16 and trafficking for sexual exploitation following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

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.

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.”

Mrs May made the decision to strip them of their citizenship following their conviction which could eventually lead to their deportation once they are released from jail.

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

It followed two previous appeal hearings which they also lost.

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.

Citizenship is a privilege, not a right, and it is right that the Home Secretary can deprive an individual of their citizenship where it is believed it is conducive to the public good to do so.Home Office spokesperson


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

It is not the first case of its kind where British nationals lose their citizenship rights due to criminal behaviour, but it remains relatively rare.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “This was an appalling case – which is why we took action to deprive these criminals of their UK citizenship. We welcome the court’s finding and will now consider next steps.

“Citizenship is a privilege, not a right, and it is right that the Home Secretary can deprive an individual of their citizenship where it is believed it is conducive to the public good to do so.”


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