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 litany of serious sex offences against young girls.
Both are appealing against the deportation order served to them last July, using 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. He 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, and drove her to secluded areas to have sex with her in his taxi. He then ferried 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.
The hearing has been adjourned until a date in September - around 13 years after Rauf and Khan first committed the offences.
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.
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 deprivation order, losing a final Court of Appeal ruling in 2018. They were part of a nine-strong gang of Asian men convicted of sex offences against vulnerable girls in 2012.
Almost a decade after their conviction, the failure to deport any of the four , has led to anger in Rochdale, where victims have been forced to live alongside their tormentors.
The consistent lapse in justice for the victims has heaped public criticism on a number of home secretaries.
Additional reporting by PA