Philippines evaluates Iranian beauty queen’s asylum bid

Special Philippines evaluates Iranian beauty queen’s asylum bid
Bahareh Zare Bahari, Iran’s representative at the 2018 Miss Intercontinental pageant.
Updated 26 October 2019

Philippines evaluates Iranian beauty queen’s asylum bid

Philippines evaluates Iranian beauty queen’s asylum bid
  • Perete said that while Bahari remains in the custody of the Bureau of Immigration at Manila’s international airport, the former Miss Iran “is not being detained”

MANILA: The application for asylum of an Iranian beauty queen who has expressed fear for her life in Tehran is being processed by the Philippines’ Department of Justice (DoJ).
Bahareh Zare Bahari, Iran’s representative at the 2018 Miss Intercontinental pageant, filed an application for asylum in the Philippines on Oct. 17 after she was informed on arrival at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) that she should be deported to Tehran based on a red warrant issued by Interpol.
“She filed her application for political asylum over the weekend and last Monday the DoJ Refugees and Stateless Persons Protection Unit (RSPPU) interviewed her. So we’re just waiting for the others who will serve as resource persons to assist the RSPPU in the evaluation of her application,” Markk Perete, DoJ undersecretary and spokesperson, told Arab News.
“That would include other international organizations. If she would be minded to present other witnesses like friends or family members to prove that she is being politically persecuted in Iran, then we would be interviewing those individuals as well. But we’ve already started the process of evaluation of her application,” he said.
Asked how long it took the DoJ to resolve an asylum application, Perete said: “It depends on the gravity of the case and on the individuals or resource persons that the applicant will name as possible individuals who could help in the evaluation of the application. It’s on a case-by-case basis.”
 Perete said that while Bahari remains in the custody of the Bureau of Immigration at Manila’s international airport,  the former Miss Iran “is not being detained.”
“Right now she’s in the custody of immigration, although she’s not being transferred to the Bureau of Immigration detention facility in Bicutan, Taguig. She’s not being transferred there because she cannot be detained by virtue of her application for political asylum. That’s why she remains in the airport,” the DoJ official said.
Bahari, who has been studying dentistry in the Philippines since 2014, has been barred from entering the country due to the Interpol red notice, according to the Bureau of Immigration.