A member of the Rochdale gang who raped and groomed girls as young as 13 has said he should not be deported because he had not committed “that big a crime”.
Adil Khan, 51, and fellow gang member, Qari Rauf, 52, are fighting deportation by the Home Office, where they would be sent to Pakistan following convictions for serious sexual offences against young girls.
Khan, speaking through a translator, told an immigration tribunal hearing on Tuesday: "We are not that big a criminal. We have not committed that big a crime. I'm innocent. I'm not committing any crime. The journalists made us out to be big criminals."
Khan, Rauf and two other men were among nine Asian men convicted of sex offences in the northern town against vulnerable girls in 2012.
From early 2008, girls as young as 12 were groomed with alcohol and drugs and gang-raped in the rooms above kebab shops. Police said that as many as 47 girls were groomed as part of the gang's activities.
Khan was sentenced to eight years in 2012 after being convicted of trafficking a child for sexual exploitation, but was released on licence four years later.
He also fathered a child with one of his victims, who was 13 years old. The two men were four of the gang with dual UK-Pakistani citizenship, and could therefore be stripped of their citizenship and deported, after Theresa May ruled it would be “conducive to the public good” for the men to leave the UK.