Ten years after they were convicted of grooming and sexually exploiting underage girls in the town of Rochdale in the north of England, two men have mounted a last-ditch effort to stop their deportation to Pakistan.
One of the men, Adil Khan, who is now 52, was jailed for eight years for conspiracy and trafficking for sexual exploitation in 2012 after he fathered a baby with a 13-year-old girl.
Speaking through an interpreter Khan told an immigration tribunal in London on Wednesday: "As you know, the father figure is very important in every culture in the world, to be a role model for the child, to tell him or her right from wrong.”
He also said he was not wanted by his family in Pakistan because his crime might harm their business.
The second Rochdale sex offender, Qari Abdul Rauf, now 53, was jailed for six years for conspiracy and trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Rauf, a married religious studies teacher at a Rochdale mosque, asked a 15-year-old girl victim if she had younger friends and then supplied the girls to other men who would have sex with them.
Grooming Gang Driven by 'Lust and Greed'Sentencing the gang Justice Gerald Clifton said they were driven by "lust and greed" and told the men they had treated the girls "as though they were worthless and beyond respect."
The then Home Secretary Theresa May ordered Khan and Rauf to be deported to Pakistan but they appealed, leading to 18 hearings in crown courts, immigration tribunals, and finally the Court of Appeal.
On Wednesday the pair began a three-day hearing in the First Tier Tribunal Immigration And Asylum Chamber in London.
The former MP for Rochdale, Simon Danczuk, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday: "I campaigned to have these sent back to Pakistan. Our legal system should not protect perpetrators like these, nor should UK taxpayers be financing lawyers so much, for so long. Think about who protects these rapists."
The Rochdale case, along with similar Asian grooming gangs in Rotherham, Oxford, Telford, and Huddersfield who targeted white girls often in care homes, led to accusations that politicians, social workers, and senior police officers turned a blind eye to the abuse for fear of being accused of being racist.
The following year the then Home Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC: “When it comes to gang-based child exploitation it is self-evident to anyone who cares to look that if you look at all the recent high-profile cases there is a high proportion of men that have Pakistani heritage.”