Iranian beauty queen Bahare Zare Bahari is seeking for asylum in the Philippines to stop her deportation to Iran for fears she would be killed for breaking tradition and for speaking for the welfare of women in their country, an official of the Department of Justice said Sunday.
Justice Undersecretary and spokesman Markk Perete said they have terminated the exclusionary proceedings against the 31-year-old Bahare, who participated as Iran’s representative in the Miss Intercontinental 2018 pageant held in Manila.
“Based on information received from the Bureau of Immigration, Bahare Zare Bahari was prevented from entering the Philippines because of an Interpol Red Notice issued against her,” Perete said in a text message.
Perete said the assault complaint against Bahare was filed by a fellow Iranian national in Iran and this was used as the basis to issue an Interpol Red Notice against her.
“While the exclusionary proceedings against her has been terminated, Bahare remains in BI custody and could not be sent back to Iran as she has filed an application for asylum. Such application the Department of Justice shall resolve in due time,” he said.
“She won’t be sent back just yet and not until her application for asylum is resolved,” he added.
Perete is still waiting information from the BI as to when the Iranian national filed her petition for asylum.
The DOJ official explained that Bahare’s exclusion proceedings is different from a deportation case.
“Deportation pertains to the removal of an alien already in the country for cause, while exclusion pertain to the state’s refusal to allow an alien to enter its territory,” Perete said.
Bahare arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 onboard a Cebu Pacific flight from Dubai on Oct. 17.
Bahare has denied allegations that she was involved in an assault and battery case pending in Dagupan, Pangasinan.
Bahare said she is currently studying in the Philippines and is on her last year as a dentistry student.
She claimed her life would be in danger if she was sent back to Iran because she violated certain traditions such as joining pageants and speaking out for women’s welfare.
Joining beauty contests are prohibited in Iran and being a political activist would merit a severe punishment, she said.