Shabir Ahmed: Sex gang leader appeals over deportation
The ringleader of a child sex grooming gang has appealed against deportation from Britain on human rights grounds.
Shabir Ahmed, 63, claimed his child sex offence convictions in 2012 was a conspiracy to "scapegoat" Muslims, an immigration tribunal heard.
Ahmed, who is serving a 22-year jail sentence, appeared at the First Tier Immigration Tribunal, sitting at Manchester Crown Court.
He is appealing against a decision to strip him of UK citizenship.
Described by a judge as a "violent, hypocritical bully", Ahmed led a group of men who preyed on girls as young as 13 in Rochdale, plying them with drink and drugs before "passing them around" for sex.
Vinesh Mandalia, representing the Home Office, said Ahmed's appeal includes an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights on grounds the conviction is unsafe because it was a "conspiracy by everyone involved."
Ahmed told the court he was convicted by "eleven white jurors" and said: "It's become fashionable to blame everything on Muslims these days."
But Mr Mandalia told the tribunal: "If you get involved in very serious organised crime then one of the consequences of that is that they will be deprived of their British citizenship."
Loss of citizenship is the first stage in the deportation process.
Ahmed, who first came to the UK in 1967 aged 14, was a British citizen but would not be stateless as he retains Pakistani nationality.
He said he had lived in the UK for nearly 50 years with four children in the country and £83,000 in a bank account.
Presiding tribunal Judge Michael Clements reserved his decision and the appeal of a second man, Qari Abdul Rauf, 47, a taxi driver and father of five.
He was released on licence last year after serving half of a six-year sentence for trafficking a girl, aged 15, in the UK for sex, and having sex with her.
Two other men convicted of child sex offences in the same case, Abdul Aziz and Adil Khan, will have their appeals heard in Manchester on Wednesday.