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The Rochdale grooming gang members fighting to avoid deportation to Pakistan: How three of the nine jailed sex abusers have used citizenship loopholes and claims to rights of a family life to mount legal challenges in bid to stay in the UK


Rochdale grooming gang members have been fighting to avoid deportation – with three of the nine jailed sex abusers using citizenship loopholes and claims to rights of a family life to mount legal challenges bidding to stay in the UK.

Seven members of the first Rochdale gang brought down for raping and trafficking young children across England have been released – including ringleader Qari Abdul Rauf who has been pictured back in the town where they carried out their attacks.

Mail Online has revealed how Rauf, 54, is still enjoying life in Britain and spending time with his family, almost nine years after he was ordered to be deported.

He and Adil Khan, 53, have been repeatedly told by the courts they will be deported to their native Pakistan – yet have pursued legal battles to remain, making the claim that they are now ‘stateless’ after renouncing their Pakistani citizenship.

Fellow convict Abdul Aziz, known in the same gang as ‘The Master’, was also served with a deportation order after being released from jail – yet he managed to abandon his Pakistani citizenship just before a crucial court ruling and was told by British officials he could stay after all.

Convicted Rochdale groomer Qari Abdul Rauf (pictured) seen leaving his home in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, on January 18, 2024

Convicted Rochdale groomer Qari Abdul Rauf (pictured) seen leaving his home in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, on January 18, 2024 

Rauf was convicted of trafficking and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child and jailed for six years in 2012, ultimately serving two years and six months behind bars

Rauf was convicted of trafficking and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child and jailed for six years in 2012, ultimately serving two years and six months behind bars 

Adil Khan was jailed for eight years, serving four in prison and four on licence, after being found guilty of trafficking and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child

Adil Khan was jailed for eight years, serving four in prison and four on licence, after being found guilty of trafficking and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child

Abdul Aziz was paid for ferrying children across the north of England before being sentenced for nine years for trafficking and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child

Abdul Aziz was paid for ferrying children across the north of England before being sentenced for nine years for trafficking and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child

He renounced his citizenship on July 13 2018 just days before a Court of Appeal ruling the trio could be stripped of British citizenship and was permitted to remain.

His victory was only revealed four years later, when a lawyer representing Rauf in his latest appeal against deportation read out an October 2018 letter sent to Aziz by then-Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

The document said the Home Office had ‘decided not to make a deprivation order in respect of you’ – meaning Aziz retained his British citizenship.

Rauf and Adil Khan, 53, renounced their Pakistani citizenship in September that year but this was deemed too late by Immigration Tribunal judges who rejected their appeals against deportation in 2020 and 2022.

In their 2022 appeal they argued that deportation would breach their right to private and family life under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Khan also told the tribunal he shouldn’t be deported back to Pakistan as he is a ‘role model’ for his teenage son and needed to teach the teenager ‘right from wrong’.

Yet the pair remain in the UK and have been frequently seen in and around Rochdale, to the anger of Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham who vowed to press the Home Office for updates on when they might finally be removed from the country.

Another gang member facing deportation to Pakistan is Shabir Ahmed, still serving a 22-year sentence.

Although Rauf was stripped of his British citizenship, his deportation has been held up as Pakistan has reportedly refused to take him back. He is pictured leaving his family home in Rochdale on January 18, 2024

Although Rauf was stripped of his British citizenship, his deportation has been held up as Pakistan has reportedly refused to take him back. He is pictured leaving his family home in Rochdale on January 18, 2024 

Rauf was pictured on January 18, 2024, being collected from his home in Rochdale by a friend who was taking him for a trip out

Rauf was pictured on January 18, 2024, being collected from his home in Rochdale by a friend who was taking him for a trip out 

Former taxi driver and Muslim preacher Rauf - jailed in 2012 for the scandal later made into BBC drama Three Girls - was last week collected by a friend

Former taxi driver and Muslim preacher Rauf – jailed in 2012 for the scandal later made into BBC drama Three Girls – was last week collected by a friend

A fifth offender, Hamid Safi, has been deported to Afghanistan after being freed while Mohammed Sajid is expected to be sent to Pakistan when his jail term ends later this year.

Three more of the gang members are believed to have been released and potentially walking British streets – Mohammed Amin, Abdul Qayyam and Kabeer Hasan. 

The nine men were convicted in 2012 of a range of sexual offences against children including rape, trafficking and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children in and around Rochdale, Greater Manchester. 

Although Rauf was stripped of his British citizenship, his deportation has been held up reportedly due to Pakistan — the other country where he enjoyed dual nationality — refusing to take him back.

Last week he was collected by a friend and driven off for a trip out, our exclusive photos showed.

Rauf refused to comment and initially denied that he was the convicted pervert when approached.

Schoolchildren regularly walk past his £140,000 three-bedroom redbrick semi-detached house in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.

The former taxi driver and Muslim preacher was jailed in 2012 for the scandal which was later dramatised in the BBC series Three Girls.

He was imprisoned for six years after being convicted of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children under 16 and trafficking for sexual exploitation.

But he was freed on licence in November 2014 after just two-and-a-half years in prison. He then returned home to his wife and five children.

The Home Office told him he would be stripped of his UK citizenship in 2015 and returned to his native Pakistan with fellow abusers Aziz and Khan.

They lost an appeal in 2018 against the ruling to strip them of their citizenship rights.

Rauf and Khan were both ordered to be sent back to Pakistan on their release but their lawyers appealed.

Alongside Adil Khan, Rauf sought to claim in 2022 that his forced removal would be incompatible with his human rights, but that appeal failed.

In August 2023, immigration judges refused a further appeal from Rauf’s lawyers – whose identities have been protected by way of an unusual court order.

Both men claimed during their deportation appeals to have renounced their Pakistani citizenships, rendering them ‘stateless’.

A previous hearing concluded that it would be ‘relatively easy’ for the pair to reclaim their Pakistani nationalities but that they were ‘unwilling’ to do so.

A new hard-hitting report released last week concluded that at least 96 men who pose a potential risk to children continue to roam the Greater Manchester area, but admits they are likely ‘only a proportion of the individuals’ committing sex abuse.

The damning 173-page paper slammed police and council bosses for failing to act on early reports of grooming.

It followed a 2013 report that examined how abuse was allowed to continue for so long before any convictions were secured.

A Home Office spokesperson said they could not comment on individual cases but added in a statement: ‘The disgraceful failures in Rochdale must never happen again. That’s why we have set up a dedicated Taskforce of specialist officers to tackle grooming gangs, helping forces target those who prey on young people and bring them to justice, and will introduce mandatory reporting for adults working with young people if someone in their care is being sexually abused.

‘We know we must do more to protect vulnerable children and our new Criminal Justice Bill will look to further protect victims and make sure grooming gangs and their leaders face the toughest possible sentences.’

The nine monsters who were sentenced in 2012 are profiled below. 

Qari Rauf and Adil Khan 

Taxi driver and Muslim preacher Abdul Rauf, of Rochdale, was convicted of trafficking and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child. He was jailed for six years in 2012, ultimately serving two years and six months behind bars.

Adil Khan, also of Rochdale, was convicted of trafficking and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child and was jailed for eight years, serving four in prison and four on licence.

Both appealed against the plan to deport him to Pakistan, and renounced his Pakistani citizenship — but not before the Home Office stripped them of their British citizenship and with it the right to remain in the country.

Alongside Adil Khan, Rauf sought to claim in 2022 that his forced removal would be incompatible with his human rights, but that appeal failed.

In August 2023, immigration judges refused another further appeal from Rauf’s lawyers – whose identities have been protected by way of a court order.

But a report in The Sun suggests the pair’s removals have been delayed because Pakistan, is reportedly refusing to allow them to return.

Rauf and Khan claimed during their deportation appeals to have renounced their Pakistani citizenships, rendering them both ‘stateless’.

A previous hearing concluded that it would be ‘relatively easy’ for the pair to reclaim their Pakistani identities but that they were ‘unwilling’ to do so.

Abdul Aziz

Mohammed Amin

Abdul Aziz (left) has been able to remain in the UK; Mohammed Amin has served his sentence

Abdul Aziz 

Aziz, of Rochdale, was convicted of trafficking and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child.

He was paid for ferrying children across the north of England and ultimately jailed for nine years.

Known as ‘the Master’ by his fellow abusers, Aziz was reportedly stripped of his UK citizenship by a court in 2018 – but it has since emerged that he renounced his Pakistani citizenship five days before the hearing, and before Rauf and Khan.

Mohammed Amin 

Amin, of Rochdale, was found guilty of sex assaults and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child.

The taxi driver was jailed for five years after he was found guilty during the 2012 trial, and has now served his sentence across both prison and release on licence.

Mohammed Sajid

Kabeer Hassan

Mohammed Sajid (left) and Kabeer Hassan (right). Sajid’s sentence concludes this year, after which he will be deported to Pakistan; Hassan is believed to be free

Mohammed Sajid 

Sajid, a cash-and-carry worker from Rochdale, was found guilty of rape, trafficking and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child, having come to the UK from Pakistan.

He was jailed for 12 years in 2012 and would be due free if he served the full sentence behind bars; he will otherwise complete the remainder of his sentence on licence.

At the time of his sentencing, he was told he would be deported to Pakistan once the term had been served.

Kabeer Hassan   

Hassan, of Oldham, was convicted of rape and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child.

Hospitality worker Hassan, the youngest member of the gang, was given a girl to rape as a ‘treat’ for his birthday, the trial heard.

Following his conviction, he was jailed for nine years, and will now be free on the streets.

Hamid Safi

Abdul Qayyum

Hamid Safi (left) is believed to have been deported to Afghanistan after serving his sentence; Abdul Qayyum (right) is now free

Hamid Safi

Illegal immigrant Safi, from Rochdale, arrived in the UK from Afghanistan after hiding underneath a lorry.

He was convicted of trafficking and conspiracy and jailed for four years.

At the time of his sentencing, he was told he would be deported to Afghanistan following the conclusion of his term.

Abdul Qayyum

Qayyum, known as ‘Tiger’, was convicted of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child.

A taxi driver and a businessman, he was sentenced to five years in jail in 2012 and will now be free on the streets.

Rochdale grooming gang leader Shabir Ahmed urged his victims to call him 'Daddy'; he still has a decade of his sentence remaining

Rochdale grooming gang leader Shabir Ahmed urged his victims to call him ‘Daddy’; he still has a decade of his sentence remaining

Shabir Ahmed

Twisted ringleader Ahmed, who urged his victims to call him ‘Daddy’, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for his role as the kingpin in the Rochdale grooming gang.

He had been employed as a welfare rights officer within Oldham Council but was convicted of two counts of rape, sex assault, trafficking and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child.

Since then, Ahmed’s jail term has been extended by three years after he was convicted of repeatedly raping a girl, and another 12 months after attacking another inmate behind bars.

In theory, he could remain in jail until around 2034, but could be granted parole to serve the remainder of his sentence on licence. He has also sought to appeal against the decision to deport him to Pakistan upon release.

Whistleblower vindicated by new Rochdale report on ‘ignored’ abuse

Gangs of paedophiles were left free to groom a new generation of victims because police and council bosses ignored the abuse of scores of young girls, according to a report – vindicating a whistleblower who tried to sound the alarm up to 20 years ago.

Sara Rowbotham, coordinator of a team set up to provide sexual health support to young people, tearfully said on Monday that she had been ‘scapegoated’ after trying to raise concerns, only to be accused of not referring abused children to police.

Ms Rowbotham’s team had identified at least 11 children they believed had been exploited for sex by a gang of Asian men – but GMP and Rochdale Council opted not to progress any investigation into the men, according to yesterday’s report.

Sara Rowbotham said she had been made into a 'scapegoat' after being accused of not passing on concerns about grooming, when she had in fact done so

Sara Rowbotham said she had been made into a ‘scapegoat’ after being accused of not passing on concerns about grooming, when she had in fact done so

Former Greater Manchester Police detective Maggie Oliver, who left the force and turned whistleblower after the force failed to act on allegations of grooming in Rochdale

Former Greater Manchester Police detective Maggie Oliver, who left the force and turned whistleblower after the force failed to act on allegations of grooming in Rochdale

The report found there was ‘compelling evidence’ of widespread, organised sexual abuse of children in Rochdale from as early as 2004 onwards, with multiple reports of the involvement of groups of Asian men cited. 

But while GMP hailed Operation Span as ‘a fantastic result for British justice’, the report states the police operation failed to address numerous other crimes and ignored children’s allegations, leaving their abusers off the hook.

The failure of law enforcement and social services to address the widespread claims of child sex rings was immortalised by BBC drama Three Girls. 

The force has since launched further investigations, which have so far resulted in the conviction of 42 men involved in the abuse of 13 children. 

Five men were jailed for a combined 70-plus years in 2023 after being convicted of the abuse of two young girls between 2002 and 2006. 

And ten men were jailed for a total of 125 years in 2016 for abuse involving eight girls and women.

Asked if he should have known what was going on within the service 20 years ago, current chief constable Stephen Watson said on Monday: ‘The extent to which individuals, strategic leaders knew, or did not know, of various things is I’m afraid beyond my knowledge.

‘What I would say is that, as the chief constable, the buck tends to stop with you.’

Former detective Ms Oliver, who resigned from GMP after being dismissed by her bosses as an ’emotional woman’ when she tried to get action on grooming, said: ‘This is a story of thousands of children’s lives that have been blighted.

‘Like Sara, this has been nearly 20 years of my life. It almost ruined my life.’



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