Adil Khan, Abdul Aziz and Qari Abdul Rauf

THREE Pakistani men convicted as members of a sex-grooming gang that targeted young girls are to be stripped of their British citizenship after a UK Court of Appeal ruling today.

Abdul Aziz, Adil Khan and Qari Abdul Rauf, dual nationals of Pakistan and Britain, were among nine men jailed for offences including the rape and trafficking of girls as young as 13 in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, in 2012.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, then UK Home Secretary, began the process of removing them from the British citizenship rolls in 2015. The men had challenged the decision on human rights grounds saying they had family in the UK, including children who were British by birth.

But today, three Court of Appeal judges rejected the legal challenge from the men and ruled that stripping the men of their British citizenship was “conducive to the public good”.

Lord Justice Sales, sitting with Sir Terence Etherton and Sir Stephen Richards, said the men were motivated by “lust and greed”.

“The crimes were plainly very serious and there was a sufficient element of organisation in the way they were committed to justify characterising the offending as participation in serious organised crime,” he said.

The court decision paves the way for the UK government’s plan to deport the men to Pakistan after they are released from jail. All three were handed jail sentences between six and nine years after a trial in 2012 and have since been released on parole.

If deportation orders are signed against them, the men could have a further legal right to appeal.

During their sentencing over six years ago, the judge had noted that their victims were “raped callously, viciously and violently”.

“In some cases, they were driven round Rochdale and Oldham to be made to have sex with paying customers. All the men treated the girls as though they were worthless and beyond all respect,” the judge had said in his ruling at Liverpool Crown Court at the time.

The three men lost a previous legal battle to hold on to their British citizenship last year.