NW NEWS: Four members of child sex grooming gang facing deportation

The ruling paves the way for the men, all of Pakistani nationality who acquired British citizenship by naturalisation, to be removed from the UK.
The ruling paves the way for the men, all of Pakistani nationality who acquired British citizenship by naturalisation, to be removed from the UK.
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Four members of a child sex grooming gang are facing deportation after losing a legal challenge in their battle to remain in the UK.

The men had appealed against moves by the Government to strip them of their British citizenship.

But their claims were dismissed on all grounds by the Upper Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber.

The ruling paves the way for the men, all of Pakistani nationality who acquired British citizenship by naturalisation, to be removed from the UK.

Among the group whose claims were thrown out is Shabir Ahmed, the ringleader of a group of men who preyed on girls in Rochdale.

He is serving a 22-year jail sentence after being convicted of a string of offences in 2012.

The other three claimants are Adil Khan, Qari Abdul Rauf and Abdul Aziz.

The case centres on decisions by then home secretary Theresa May proposing to deprive the men of their British citizenship on the grounds that it would be "conducive to the public good".

Handing down the judgment, Mr Justice McCloskey, president of the Upper Tribunal, said the cases were "of some notoriety", and described the men's crimes as "shocking, brutal and repulsive".

He dismissed five different grounds of appeal - including an argument advanced by three of the men that the Government had failed in a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of their children.

The ruling also dismissed a complaint of a "disproportionate interference" with the men's rights as EU citizens and rejected claims concerning human rights laws.

Despite the ruling, the legal battle to deport the men could drag on for some time.

There are further steps the Home Office must complete and the men will be able to appeal at later stages in the process.

The four can apply for permission to appeal against Thursday's decision.

Applications can only be made on a question of law, and permission is granted in less than 10% of cases.

Ahmed, who was convicted of rape as well as other charges, remains in custody, while the other three men have been released on licence.

Khan, Rauf and Aziz were convicted of conspiracy and trafficking for sexual exploitation charges. Aziz was not convicted of having sexual intercourse with any child himself.

Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk called for the men to be deported to Pakistan "as soon as possible".

He said: "We welcome many people coming to the UK, to contribute, but if they break the law then they should lose their right to live here.

"Foreign-born criminals should not be able to hide behind human rights laws to avoid deportation."