Rochdale Child Grooming Gang Rapists Still Appealing Deportation on Human Rights Grounds

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Rapists belonging to one of the UK’s most notorious child grooming and rape gang cases are fighting their deportations to Pakistan using the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), claiming that their removals breach their rights to a private and family life.

Then-Home Secretary Theresa May had ordered Adil Khan, now 51, and Qari Abdul Rauf, 52, be sent back to Pakistan after the 2012 conviction of the two men and seven other accomplices for sex offences against almost 50 girls. The men were found guilty of crimes including gang rape and facilitating underage prostitution, with some of their victims being as young as 12 years old.

Khan had raped and impregnated a 13-year-old and trafficked a 15-year-old for sex, and Rauf also prostituted a 15-year-old girl. Both have since been released from short prison sentences.

Khan had told a preliminary immigration hearing concerning his long-delayed deportation in June that “we have not committed that big a crime.”

According to a Manchester Evening News report from Thursday, it has emerged that Rauf and Khan are appealing their deportation orders, which were served to them in July 2020, on the grounds that it deprives them of their right to a private and family life, under Article 8 of the ECHR.

The ECHR is overseen by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) which is a body belonging to the Council of Europe. While the Council of Europe is not technically part of the European Union, EU member-states are expected to adhere to the ECHR, with the Treaty of the European Union demanding it of all new members.

Despite the United Kingdom having finally left all of the EU’s institutions in January 2021, it remains tied to the Strasbourg court via the EU-UK Trade Agreement, and the Human Rights Act (HRA) brings the European Convention of Human Rights into British law regardless.

Khan and Rauf are two of four men in the grooming gang with British-Pakistani citizenship, but at an immigration tribunal hearing on Thursday, it was raised that Khan claimed to be “stateless” because he had renounced his Pakistani citizenship.

The men have already been through the court system after the Home Office began the process to remove their British citizenship in July 2015 ahead of their deportation. Some of the men –including Khan, Rauf, and Abdul Aziz — have fought a long legal battle against their repatriation to Pakistan, finally losing in the Court of Appeal in 2018.

MEN reports that the current challenge at the immigration tribunal will go on until at least September 2021 and likely will go on until 2022 — a decade after the men were convicted.

Others have used the ECHR to avoid being removed from Britain, with a 2017 report claiming that more than 40 convicted terrorists had used the HRA to avoid deportation. Some had used taxpayer-funded legal aid in their appeals.

October saw two cases of criminal migrants using the HRA and the European human rights law to thwart their deportations, including a convicted drug dealer from Nigeria and a Sri Lankan failed asylum seeker who stabbed a man to death after he was supposed to have been deported.

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