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Rochdale grooming gang members remain in UK 18 months after losing court battle against deportation Exclusive: Home Office accused of prioritising offenders with Jamaican roots over sex abusers Three members of a Rochdale grooming gang remain in the UK more than 18 months after they lost an appeal against losing their British citizenship, it has emerged. Victims of Abdul Aziz, Adil Khan and Qari Abdul Rauf have reported recent sightings of the men in the Greater Manchester area. The trio have been able to return to the town where they committed years of horrific abuse after being released from prison. Khan got an underage victim pregnant while he was in his 40s, while Aziz and Rauf trafficked teenage girls for sex in their taxis. One of the prosecutors who brought charges against the Rochdale grooming gang said victims had informed him of several sightings of all three men since Christmas. Nazir Afzal OBE, the former chief crown prosecutor for northwest England, told The Independent: “Given the zeal with which the Home Office is dealing with offenders with Jamaican roots, I and the victims and their families are somewhat surprised that these men continue to walk the streets of Rochdale and keep running into those whom they abused. “Having read that one of the deportees to Jamaica was convicted only of dangerous driving, one has to ask if driving a car erratically is viewed as more dangerous and more of a priority than a man who has sexually abused children.” The Home Office announced its intention to remove the men’s British citizenship in July 2015, saying the move was in the public interest because of their “serious and organised offences”. Aziz, Khan and Rauf launched a legal challenge but lost the case at the Court of Appeal in August 2018, paving the way for them to be deported to Pakistan. The court heard that the three convicts were dual nationals, having moved to the UK from Pakistan but became naturalised Judges said the Home Office’s steps to remove their UK citizenship were a “prelude to possible deportation to Pakistan”. Each of them challenged the decision, arguing it amounted to a breach of their human rights and the interests of their children, but their cases were rejected by both the government’s First Tier Tribunal (FTT) and Upper Tribunal. The Court of Appeal concluded that the Home Office and FTT had not acted unlawfully and were “entitled to find that the deprivation of citizenship in the case of each appellant would be compliant” with the law. Lord Justice Sales said: “All the men treated the girls as though they were worthless and beyond all respect. They were motivated by lust and greed.” They were jailed in 2012 as part of a gang who plied girls as young as 13 with drink and drugs and passed them around for sex. Aziz, a taxi driver known as “the Master”, was a leading member of the group and was given a nine-year sentence for trafficking a 15-year-old girl for sex and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child. He was married with three children at the time of the abuse. Khan, also a taxi driver, received eight years for conspiracy and trafficking a 13-year-old girl who became pregnant with his child when he was in his 40s. He also targeted a 15-year-old girl and physically abused her when she complained about her treatment. Rauf, a married taxi driver with five children, was handed six years for trafficking a teenage girl and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child, after driving one victim to locations where she had sex with him and others up to 20 times. Co-defendant and grooming ringleader Shabir Ahmed was also notified that he would be stripped of his British citizenship but remains in prison serving a 22-year term for rape. Aziz, Khan and Rauf’s continued presence in Rochdale emerged as the government faced a legal challenge over a deportation flight to Jamaica. After campaigners raised concern that not all of around 50 people on board had access to legal advice, a plane took off with only 17 people on board last month. There were questions over proportionality when it emerged that one deportee had been convicted of dangerous driving. The government would not comment on the Rochdale case but said it had deported more than 51,000 foreign national offenders since 2010. It defended the deportation flight to Jamaica, saying those on board were serious or persistent criminals and included men convicted of rape, violent crimes and drug offences. A Home Office spokesperson added: “The government will do everything within its power to deport those who have no right to remain in the UK.”