Three rapists from the Rochdale child grooming gang will be stripped of British citizenship after a top judge branded their predatory attacks “serious organised crime”.
Three years ago Theresa May, then Home Secretary, decided that Abdul Aziz, 47, Adil Khan, 48, and Abdul Rauf, 48, should lose their British passports because of their crimes and the fact they are also citizens of Pakistan.
Before their imprisonment, the trio worked as taxi drivers, with Rauf also acting as a Muslim preacher. They lost an appeal against the decision this Wednesday after being initially jailed at a trial in 2012.
All had been found guilty of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children under the age of 16 and trafficking for sexual exploitation at trial.
During the appeal, they argued their “human rights” would be violated if they were deported as they have children in the United Kingdom.
However, senior judges at the Court of Appeal have now agreed with the Home Office that taking their citizenship away would be “conducive to the public good,” the Manchester Evening News reports.
Lord Justice Sales said that “they were motivated by lust and greed” and that Mrs May’s decision to have them deported was “reasonably open to her.”
“The crimes were plainly very serious and there was a sufficient element of the organisation in the way they were committed to justify characterising the offending as participation in the serious organised crime,” he added.
Gang ringleader Shabir Ahmed, 64, lost a separate appeal against deportation in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in 2016, when he claimed his convictions were the police and “far right” conspiracy to “scapegoat” Muslims.
The Rochdale gang to which they belonged was convicted of preying on vulnerable girls as young as 13 in the northern town, plying them with drink and drugs before they were “passed around” for sex.
The gang was the subjects recent BBC drama Three Girls, which dramatized the grooming gang phenomenon which has blighted the entire country.
The judge who jailed them at Liverpool Crown Court in May 2012 said their victims were “raped callously, viciously, and violently”.
“All the men treated the girls as though they were worthless and beyond all respect”, he added.