An Immigration Tribunal heard that, as 51-year-old Abdul Aziz would not lose his citizenship, it would therefore be wrong to deport two other gang members fighting to stay in the UK
Image: Greater Manchester Police)
A Rochdale grooming gang leader dubbed ‘The Master’ will be allowed to remain in the UK.
Abdul Aziz, 51, 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.
Aziz, Adil Khan, 51 and Qari Abdul Rauf, 52, were among nine gang members jailed in 2012 for a catalog of child sex offenses in Rochdale.
All three were liable to be deprived of UK citizenship and deported as they also held Pakistani nationality, and then-home secretary Theresa May ruled it would be “conducive to the public good”.
Since being released from jail they have fought a long legal battle against deportation, mounting multiple legal challenges and appeals, spanning several years, on the grounds that deportation would interfere with their human rights.
As Khan and Rauf continued their appeal against deportation, it emerged at the Immigration Tribunal that Aziz had already been told he will not be stripped of his UK citizenship and deported.
Aziz had renounced his Pakistani citizenship on July 13 2018, six years after he was jailed, but just days before 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?”
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.
He took his victim to flats in Rochdale where she was plied with vodka and drugs and coerced into sex with gangs of men in return for payment to him.
Rauf’s lawyers also said deportation would be a breach under articles of the European Convention on Human Rights, arising out of their individual circumstances relating to their private and family life.
At an earlier hearing Judge Charlotte Welsh granted an application for anonymity for the lawyers representing Rauf, that they could not be named in any report of the hearing.
Khan, then in his 40s, impregnated one girl, refusing to accept the child was his until a DNA test was done. He then met the other girl he trafficked to others for sex, using violence when she objected.
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.
The hearing was adjourned with a decision on deportation expected later this year.