Qari Abdul Rauf and Adil Khan, members of the Rochdale child abuse ring convicted of raping girls as young as 12, are preparing to argue deportation to Pakistan would infringe on their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.
But first, the procedure has to deal with troublesome claims made by one of the sick duo that he is stateless, which has caused the hearing to be adjourned, consuming more time and public money while the men continue to roam free, almost a decade since being convicted for their awful crimes.
Both men abused children between 2008 and 2010, with a court hearing during their trials how their prey were plied with drink, faced constant sexual abuse and were driven to towns across the north of England to be abused by fellow gang members. Police have said as many as 47 teenagers were groomed.
Rauf, 52 was imprisoned in 2012 along with 8 other dangerous predators, including Khan. After serving just two years and six months of his six-year sentence, he returned home to his wife and five kids. In 2015, the Home Office informed Rauf that he would be deported back to his native Pakistan, along with his fellow abusers.
However, Rauf is still lurking around Greater Manchester, having been spotted going shopping in Rochdale in April.
Adil Khan was sentenced to eight years in prison, but was out within four. He was convicted after having had sex with a 13-year-old girl, who he got pregnant, and for trafficking a 15-year-old girl.
An immigration tribunal was told that even before their appeals could be heard on the grounds of Article 8 of the convention, there would first have to be a hearing on their statelessness.
Article 8 of the ECHR concerns data protection and is being used to argue the men have a right to a private life that must be in the UK.
Of the two men, only Khan has formally renounced his Pakistani citizenship. On that basis, Rauf’s barrister, Solani Naik QC said the cases should be dealt with separately, warning that previous cases like this one have gone “all the way to Strasbourg”.
Mr Naik’s fees are paid through legal aid. In May, it was revealed the groomers’ appeals against deportation had cost the taxpayer £2m in legal aid.
The Home Office disagrees, arguing a joint process is perfectly acceptable because the circumstances are the same.
The hearing has now been adjourned while both sides get to grips with Pakistani law and rules around statelessness, all covered by the taxpayer
Two other men in the gang of nine hold dual UK-Pakistani citizenship.
This is only the latest shocking statement to the immigration tribunal. Last month, it was told the paedophile ring did not commit “that big a crime” in destroying the lives of so many vulnerable children.