Rochdale grooming trio to lose British citizenship
Three members of a notorious grooming gang will be stripped of their British citizenship following a court ruling.
Abdul Aziz, Adil Khan and Qari Abdul Rauf were among nine jailed for crimes including rape and trafficking of girls as young as 13 in Rochdale, in 2012.
Theresa May, then Home Secretary, ruled in 2015 that the Pakistani nationals should not remain British.
Court of Appeal judges rejected their challenge. The ruling means they could be deported.
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The men had lost earlier legal challenges against the decision, which they argued violated their human right to family life.
But senior judges ruled on Wednesday that the previous tribunals had made a "proper and lawful assessment" of the likelihood of deportation.
'Lust and greed'
Lord Justice Sales said: "Given the extremely serious nature of the offending by each appellant, there is no good ground for calling that conclusion into question."
Aziz, Khan and Rauf were given jail sentences of between six and nine years in 2012 but have since been released on licence.
In some cases their victims, aged in their early teens, had been raped and pimped out to paying customers in Rochdale and Oldham.
Lord Justice Sales said the men were motivated by "lust and greed" which amounted to "serious organised crime" and that stripping them of citizenship was "conducive to the public good".
"All the men treated the girls as though they were worthless and beyond all respect," he added.
While the decision paves the way for the government to deport them at the end of their sentences, they would have a further legal right to appeal and the process could take months.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: "This was an appalling case. We welcome the court's finding and will now consider next steps."