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Two men who were part of the notorious Rochdale grooming gang will fight deportation from the UK by invoking their human rights, a tribunal has heard.
Adil Khan, 51, and Qari Abdul Rauf, 52, have been told they are to be sent back to Pakistan for the public good after both were part of a gang convicted of a catalogue of serious sex offences against young girls.
Today (Thursday) it emerged both are appealing against the deportation order served on them last July, on the grounds of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – their right to a private and family life.
Khan got a 13-year-old girl pregnant but denied he was the father, then met another girl, 15, and trafficked her to others, using violence when she complained.
He was sentenced to eight years in 2012 and released on licence four years later.
Rauf, a father-of-five, trafficked a 15-year-old girl for sex, driving her to secluded areas to have sex with her in his taxi and ferrying her to a flat in Rochdale where he and others had sex with her.
He was jailed for six years and released in November 2014 after serving two years and six months of his sentence.
At an immigration tribunal case management hearing held by video-link on Thursday, judges were told that before the Article 8 appeals are heard there must be a hearing to consider the issue of ‘statelessness’.
Khan claims to have renounced his Pakistani citizenship which would make him ‘stateless’ and a bar to deportation.
Sonali Naik QC, representing Rauf, who is legally aided, said: “The matter needs to be thoroughly litigated.”
Ms Naik said the Article 8 appeals of Rauf and Khan should then be dealt with separately and individually as other similar cases have been dealt with in the past, ‘all the way to Strasbourg’.
Cathryn McGahey QC, representing the Home Office, said the matters should be dealt with jointly as the background facts are the same.
Both Rauf’s and the Government’s lawyers must now instruct experts in Pakistani law for the forthcoming appeal hearing on the issue of statelessness, and the hearing has been adjourned until a date in September – around 13 years after Rauf and Khan first committed the offences.
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Last month Khan told a preliminary hearing: “We have not committed that big a crime.”
Neither Rauf or Khan were present for Thursday’s hearing.
Both were among four in the gang with dual UK-Pakistani citizenship, so liable to be stripped of UK citizenship and deported after then home secretary Theresa May ruled it would be ‘conducive to the public good’ to deprive the four of the right to remain in Britain.
They were part of a nine-strong gang of Asian men convicted of sex offences against vulnerable girls in 2012.
For two years from early 2008, girls as young as 12 were plied with alcohol and drugs and gang-raped in rooms above takeaway shops and ferried to different flats in taxis where cash was paid to use the girls.
Police said as many as 47 girls were groomed.
Khan, Rauf and another man, Abdul Aziz, then fought, and lost, a long legal battle against the deportation order, losing a final Court of Appeal ruling in 2018.
But the failure to then deport any of the four, almost a decade after their conviction, has led to anger in Rochdale, where victims were living alongside their tormentors, and has heaped public criticism on a number of home secretaries.
Last year the M.E.N. revealed how one terrified victim bumped into her freed abuser while shopping in Asda.
She ran from the supermarket in tears and reported Adil Khan to the authorities as he was with another young child.
Now a young woman, she saw Khan with another child in an aisle of Asda superstore in Rochdale town centre.
She told a friend: “Oh my God, he’s been in Asda. I’ve never been so scared in all my life. I feel like my heart just stopped beating.”
She was left outraged that Khan and two other members of the gang remained in Rochdale despite losing their appeal against deportation.
The young woman – who cannot be named as a victim of a sex crime but who was Ruby in the BBC drama about the scandal Three Girls – confided in former GMP detective Maggie Oliver who worked on the police investigation but later resigned in disgust at how victims were treated and turned whistleblower and campaigner.
The Home Office began the process of removing the men’s British citizenship in July 2015 to pave the way for their deportation but they challenged the move, saying it breached their human rights and the rights of their children.
They lost their case at the Court of Appeal in August 2018 but they remained in Rochdale.
The long-running case will extend to September at least and will probably go into next year.
This content was originally published here.