MANILA: The Philippines has approved the asylum application of Former Miss Iran, Bahareh Zare Bahari, Justice Undersecretary and spokesperson Markk Perete said on Friday, almost a month after the beauty queen was arrested at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Bahari arrived in Manila from a two-week vacation in Dubai on October 18 but was barred from leaving the airport due to what authorities said was an International Police (Interpol) red notice.
"I can confirm that her [asylum] application has been approved as of Tuesday," Perete told Arab News.
He added that he had yet to verify if Bahari had been allowed to leave the airport and admitted into the Philippines, adding that "as of Tuesday evening, the BI [Bureau of Immigration] has started processing her papers pursuant to the ruling on her [asylum] application."
The Bureau of Immegration said last month that Bahari was intercepted at NAIA's terminal 3 following an Interpol red notice against her for an assault and battery case allegedly committed in Dagupan City in the Philippines.
Bahari denies any wrongdoing, saying the cases against her are fake. She has also said she would be killed or imprisoned if deported to Iran where the Tehran government is allegedly targeting her for supporting an opposition politician, violating traditional values by taking part in beauty pageants and speaking for women’s rights.
In January Bahari appeared at a beauty pageant carrying a picture of Reza Pahlavi, an Iranian opposition leader and founder of the National Council of Iran.
"If they (Philippines) deport me (back to ) Iran, (they will) at least give me 25 years in jail if they do not kill me," Bahari said in an interview with Arab News last month.