Labour selects Afghan-born torture survivor as more selections open

Tom Belger
Roh Yakobi as a child.

A refugee who was tortured by the Taliban as a child has been selected as a Labour party candidate at the general election, vowing to “pay the debt I owe to our country”.

It comes as Labour’s fast-tracked selections pick up pace across the country, with the party advertising for candidates for two further constituencies over the weekend – West Ham and Beckton, and Swansea West – to tight deadlines (more below).

Thirteen vacancies currently advertised on Labour’s website see applications close at 5pm today.

Meet Roh Yakobi, Labour’s ‘truly extraordinary’ candidate

Security and foreign policy analyst Roh Yakobi was picked as Labour’s candidate in The Wrekin, Shropshire, over the weekend.

He said in a statement on X: “I am delighted and honoured to be selected as Labour’s parliamentary candidate for The Wrekin.

“From Taliban captivity and torture as a 12-year-old child to arriving here as a refugee and reaching where I am today, I owe everything I have to this wonderful country. I am determined to pay back what I owe.”

He said in another post: “ There have been a few tears. Have been thinking of the village and the punishing lives its people had.

“Of my mother, who lived the most tragic life and whose burial place I don’t know.  Of my father who fought the Soviets and then the Taliban, and sacrificed so much.  Of my little brother who died in front of me of hunger under Taliban blockade.

“Of that July 1999 day the Taliban came after me, the cell, the torture. Of running away and struggling to protect myself in Pakistan and Iran. Of the sweatshops, factories and building sites.

“Of Britain, this wonderful, great country of ours, which I owe so much to. Of the Labour party I joined the day I became a British citizen in 2010. Hugged my wife and kids and we wept together. I am ready to serve, ready to pay the debt I owe to our country.”

Yakobi added: “ Over the coming weeks, I will work tirelessly to earn the trust of voters of in The Wrekin. I need all the help I can get to win. If you can support in any way, please get in touch.”


Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting said he was a truly extraordinary” candidate, with Yakobi replying: “You know how much you’ve inspired me”.

Meanwhile Labour has advertised for a candidate in Swansea West, currently represented by Geraint Davies, who has been sitting as an independent after being suspended by Labour over misconduct allegations.

It has also advertised for a candidate in West Ham and Beckton, following boundary changes. Lyn Brown  currently represents West Ham, and has been approached for comment about which seat she intends to stand in.


New seat Primary component Secondary component(s)
East Ham 80.3% of East Ham
Stratford and Bow 45.7% of West Ham 24.7% of Bethnal Green and Bow

7.7% of Poplar and Limehouse
West Ham and Beckton 54.3% of West Ham 19.7% of East Ham

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