Women Against Groomers demand legal action against Home Secretary for failing to deport members of Rochdale grooming gang

Date published: 27 May 2020

Local group Women Against Groomers is demanding legal action against the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, for failing to deport three members of the Rochdale grooming gang after the men lost an appeal against deportation around two years ago.

A letter demanding the deportation of Qari Abdul Rauf, Adil Khan and Abdul Aziz was delivered to the Home Secretary on Friday 22 May, on behalf of former councillor Liz Thirsk, of Rochdale, representing Women Against Groomers, and the Hearts of Oak movement, which is funding legal proceedings.

The two groups are not connected, but have come together to challenge Priti Patel on the deportation of the three paedophiles, and are advised by Tilbrook’s Solicitors, Essex.

Rauf, Khan and Aziz lost the right to stay in Britain in August 2018, after losing a human rights appeal against their removal. A fourth member of the group, Shabir Ahmed, also lost his appeal against deportation but is still in prison, serving a 22-year term for rape.

The trio were jailed in May 2012 for their parts in the scandal – and all have been spotted in and around Rochdale over the last few years after their release from prison.

Khan was jailed for eight years for conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child and trafficking a child within the UK.

Aziz was convicted of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child and trafficking a child within the UK. He received a nine-year sentence.

Rauf was convicted of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child and trafficking a child within the UK, was jailed for six years.

Drawing a comparison to the deportation of the Windrush generation – descendants of Caribbean immigrants living in the UK who were told they were living here ‘illegally’ because of a lack of official paperwork, Liz Thirsk, of Women Against Groomers, said: “The victims have been let down because they are still here.

“Why are there double standards at play? The Windrush generation, who did not commit a crime, were deported – and yet these groomers are still here. How on earth is that justified?

“They are walking around town, and they shouldn’t be. We need to get justice and closure for the survivors of these horrific offenders.”

A copy of the letter has also been sent to Rochdale Borough Council, which has confirmed it is also writing to the Home Secretary to outline concerns.

Liz added: “What has the council and the MP [for Rochdale, Tony Lloyd] done to push this deportation? They are still allowed to live in the town, and why has no-one actually done anything like we are?”

Responding, Mr Lloyd said: “As Rochdale Online know, I have been pressing government ministers to take action to ensure the deportation of the Rochdale sex abusers, and will continue to do so. I’ve spoken directly to senior government ministers asking for protections for victims, making the obvious point that it is outrageous that victims should have to confront their attackers in the streets of Rochdale.

“The way round this ultimately of course, is that the deportations promised by Theresa May, and never countermanded by successive Home Secretaries should now be carried out. I am still urging Priti Patel as Home Secretary to do exactly that.”

Leader of Rochdale Borough Council, Allen Brett said: “The government must now finally act to have these men removed from the country. The council is providing support to many of the victims of these terrible crimes and have for many years now been helping to bring more perpetrators of sexual abuse to justice.

“That work will continue but only the Home Secretary can provide further closure by fulfilling the previous promises that have been made to deport the offenders whose citizenship has been removed.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Foreign national offenders should be in no doubt of our determination to remove them, and since 2010 we have removed more than 53,000 criminals.”

“We are determined to end the abhorrent crime of child sexual exploitation, and will later this year set out a first of its kind national strategy to respond to all forms of child sexual abuse.”

Do you have a story for us?

Let us know by emailing news@rochdaleonline.co.uk
All contact will be treated in confidence.

To contact the Rochdale Online news desk, email news@rochdaleonline.co.uk or visit our news submission page.

To get the latest news on your desktop or mobile, follow Rochdale Online on Twitter and Facebook.

While you are here...

...we have a small favour to ask; would you support Rochdale Online and join other residents making a contribution, from just £3 per month?

Rochdale Online offers completely independent local journalism with free access. If you enjoy the independent news and other free services we offer (event listings and free community websites for example), please consider supporting us financially and help Rochdale Online to continue to provide local engaging content for years to come. Thank you.

Support Rochdale Online