- Taxi drivers Abdul Aziz, Adil Khan and Abdul Rauf were among nine men jailed
- Gang committed appalling crimes against girls in Greater Manchester in 2012
- Theresa May ruled they should have names deleted from roll of British citizens
- This has now been backed at Court of Appeal, paving the way to deport them
Three men from the notorious Rochdale paedophile ring will be stripped of their UK citizenship after they lost an appeal.
Taxi drivers Abdul Aziz, 47, Adil Khan, 48, and Abdul Rauf, 48, were among nine men jailed over appalling crimes against girls in Greater Manchester in 2012.
The then home secretary Theresa May ruled in 2015 that all three men - who have dual British and Pakistani nationality - should have their names deleted from the roll of British citizens.
The decision was a prelude to government plans to deport them to Pakistan upon their release from jail.
The trio, who all have British children, challenged the decision - claiming it violated their human right to family life.
But their campaign to stay British failed today when senior judges at the Court of Appeal ruled that stripping them of citizenship is 'conducive to the public good'.
Aziz, who was one of the ringleaders of the grooming gang and referred to by some of the others as The Master, was sentenced to nine years in prison for his part in i.
Rauf received a six-year term and Khan eight years. All three men are now out of jail.
Lord Justice Sales said that what they and others did to vulnerable girls in Rochdale amounted to 'serious organised crime'.
Gerald Clifton, the judge who jailed them at Liverpool Crown Court in May 2012, said victims were 'raped callously, viciously and violently'.
He added at the time: '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.
Now Lord Justice Sales, who was sitting with the Master of the Rolls, Sir Terence Etherton, and Sir Stephen Richards, said: 'They were motivated by lust and greed.'
He also ruled that Mrs May's conclusion that it was not in the public interest for them to remain British was 'reasonably open to her'.
Lord Justice Sales added: '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.
But he also said that, if deportation orders are signed against them, the three men will have the right to appeal on human rights grounds and that process is likely to take 'many months'.
The case was dramatised in the BBC's Three Girls, which was broadcast in May 2017.
The Pakistani men were convicted in May 2012 of preying on girls in Rochdale, plying them with drink and drugs before they were ‘passed around’ for sex.
They have been given legal aid to fight deportation – after already receiving more than a £1million to unsuccessfully defend criminal charges.
Aziz, Khan and Rauf – part of a ring who raped, abused and tormented young girls - all received hundreds of thousands of pounds in legal aid at their trial.
Figures released under Freedom of Information laws show Rauf was granted £282,370, Khan £282,289 and Aziz £195,277 for their unsuccessful court battle.
But the figures are set to rise as three of the men are spending tens of thousands of pounds paying lawyers working on their bid to beat deportation.
A Home Office spokesman said after the Court of Appeal's ruling: 'Thiswas an appalling case - which is why we took action to deprive these criminals of their UK citizenship. We welcome the court's finding and will now consider next steps.
'Citizenship is a privilege, not a right, and it is right that the Home Secretary can deprive an individual of their citizenship where it is believed it is conducive to the public good to do so.'