Philippines grants asylum to Iranian beauty queen held in airport


Bahareh Zare Bahari, an Iranian former beauty queen and critic of the Iranian regime has granted asylum by the Philippine government after she was stranded for four weeks at the NAIA International Airport in Manila.

She is the subject of an Interpol “red notice” issued by Iran, resulting in her detention on October 17 when she attempted to enter the Philippines from Dubai. She cited fears that she would be jailed or executed in Iran on politically motivated charges.

The Philippine justice department recognised Bahari as a refugee on November 06, but released the document only on Friday.

The justice department ordered her to report to the Bureau of Immigration (BoI) so she could be issued a visa and registration certificate. “If the refugee has no passport or valid passport, visa stamping is not required,” the document said.

The document also recommends that a travel document be issued and work permit requirements  waived if Bahari wishes to work in the Philippines.

On Saturday, Bahari was reportedly still in the airport, citing fears for her safety if she left.

Bahari said she had studied dentistry in the Philippines since 2014, the year she left Iran. She entered the public eye at the 2018 Miss Intercontinental beauty contest in Manila when she displayed a poster of Reza Pahlavi, the former ruler of Iran. She has also spoken in favour of Iranian women’s rights. (Source: The Guardian)