From the Manchester Evening News
Four members of a notorious grooming gang from Rochdale have lost their legal challenge to remain UK citizens and could face deportation.
Ringleader Shabir Ahmed and Adil Khan, Abdul Rauf and Abdul Aziz could soon be sent back to their home country of Pakistan after immigration judges rejected their appeals against a move to strip them of British citizenship.
Paedophile Ahmed, 63, had previously tried and failed to overturn his convictions at a European court, arguing his trial was unfair because all the members of the jury were white.
The four men have now lost appeals against a move by then Home Secretary Theresa May to strip them of British citizenship as a first step to deportation.
It is not yet known how long it will take to deport them – and there are concerns there may be a few more hurdles to overcome.
A senior source told the M.E.N. there are worries deportation may be tricky because of concerns over Pakistani criminals bribing their way out of jail.
The government wants Ahmed, Aziz and Khan, who are still behind bars, (according to Sky News only Ahmed is in custody, Khan, Rauf and Aziz have been released on licence) to serve the rest of their terms in Pakistan.
Many prisoners transferred to the country have reportedly been released by ‘corrupt’ officials.
The UK/Pakistani prisoner transfer agreement, set up to ensure criminals continue their sentences once deported, is currently considered redundant.
There are suggestions UK officials may have no choice but to allow the men to stay in the country if they think there is a risk of them bribing their way out of prison because Pakistani children could be put in danger of abuse.
There are also concerns more appeals could see the legal battle drag on even longer.
Earlier this week, Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk called on the government to close up ‘timewasting loopholes’ in immigration law which have stalled proceedings to deport criminals. He is now calling for ministers to seek assurances from Pakistani officials that Ahmed, Aziz and Khan will complete their sentences if they are returned.
Handing down the judgment, Mr Justice Bernard McCloskey said the cases were ‘of some notoriety’, and described the men’s crimes as ‘shocking, brutal and repulsive’.