Iranian beauty queen wins asylum in Philippines

Bahareh Zare Bahari said she feared for her life
Bahareh Zare Bahari said she feared for her life  

Manila (AFP) - An Iranian beauty queen sought by Tehran on criminal charges has been granted political asylum in the Philippines, an official said Friday, ending a three-week standoff at Manila airport.

Bahareh Zare Bahari, based in the Philippines since 2014, was denied entry into the Southeast Asian nation on October 17 when she returned from Dubai, with Philippine authorities citing an Iranian warrant for her arrest.

Claiming Tehran wanted to punish her for opposition to Iran's theocratic regime, Bahari then sought refugee status, holed up in a room at Manila's international airport and using social media to rally support from the international community -- including a plea to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

"They will kill me", Bahari told Britain's Telegraph newspaper last month, referring to Iranian authorities.

Philippine Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete told AFP that she had been granted political asylum, adding that she was detained because Iran had asked Interpol for help in arresting and returning her on assault and battery charges.

"She will be getting out of the airport and coming into Philippine territory," Perete said, but declined to discuss the grounds on which she was granted asylum citing confidentiality rules in the United Nations refugee convention.

When asked for comment, a consular official at the Iranian embassy in Manila told AFP to call back on Monday.

Ahead of the asylum decision, rights group Amnesty International had urged the Philippines authorities not to deport Bahari, describing her as "a vocal critic of the Iranian authorities and a public opponent of forced veiling".

"If the Philippines authorities send her to Iran she risks arrest, torture and other ill-treatment, and unfair trial and imprisonment," Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty's regional director for East and Southeast Asia said in a statement on Thursday.

In a video posted on her Facebook page two weeks ago, Bahari said she had lived in the Philippines since 2014, studied dentistry and also started a modelling and acting career.

She represented Iran at the Miss Intercontinental beauty pageant in Manila last year, and said Tehran wanted her deported because of her "political activity".

Bahari's Facebook page features a photo posted in August showing her wearing a dress resembling the Iranian flag used by the Shah of Iran's regime, which was toppled in the 1979 Islamic Revolution. In the photo, she is seen holding a spear with what appeared to be a photo of Reza Pahlavi, the toppled king's son.

"My wish is that my country will reach to freedom and equality," Zare Bahari said in her candidate profile at the Miss Intercontinental pageant website.

Bahari said Iranian authorities had given the Philippines a "fake report" about her, adding that she had been speaking out on social media to show the people of Iran "life without war, with freedom and peace and love".


More Related News

Philippines says U.S. lawmaker
Philippines says U.S. lawmaker's bid to halt security aid won't succeed

A U.S. lawmaker's push to block police and military aid to the Philippines over human rights concerns is unlikely to succeed, because of the friendship between the leaders of the two countries, a senior government official on Thursday. The Philippines is confident the United States will give more weight to its ties with the Philippines and President Rodrigo Duterte's personal friendship with counterpart Donald Trump, said Duterte's spokesman, Harry Roque.

Saudi king
Saudi king's rare address to UN showcases monarch in charge
  • World
  • 2020-09-23 19:16:05Z

Saudi Arabia's King Salman made a rare address to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, using the moment to highlight the foundational notions of his regime - his steadfast commitment to the Palestinians, his stature as custodian of Islam's holiest sites and his assertion that Iran is responsible for much of the region's instability. The prerecorded speech to world leaders suggested that the 84-year-old king, who delivers only a handful of public remarks each year, retains oversight of high-level policies despite the immense powers amassed by his son, the crown prince. In delivering his remarks, he became only the second Saudi king to deliver a speech to the world assembly.

In U.N. debut, Saudi king calls for comprehensive solution on Iran
In U.N. debut, Saudi king calls for comprehensive solution on Iran

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Wednesday called for a comprehensive solution on Iran and disarming its affiliate Hezbollah in Lebanon, and expressed support for U.S. efforts to start talks between Israel and the Palestinians during his first address to the United Nations General Assembly. "A comprehensive solution and a firm international position are required," he told the 193-member General Assembly in a video statement, prerecorded due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In UN speech, Duterte defends drug war but tempers tone
In UN speech, Duterte defends drug war but tempers tone
  • World
  • 2020-09-22 20:02:41Z

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte defended his drug crackdown, dismissed criticism from human rights advocates and underscored his country's claims in the South China Sea as the sometimes aggressive critic of the United Nations addressed its annual gathering of world leaders for the first time Tuesday. "The Philippines values the role that the United Nations plays in its fight against the pandemic," Duterte said in a prerecorded video, the meeting's format this year because of the pandemic.

Facebook Busts China-Linked Disinfo Campaign That Snared U.S. Users
Facebook Busts China-Linked Disinfo Campaign That Snared U.S. Users
  • World
  • 2020-09-22 19:19:33Z

Facebook booted a China-linked disinformation campaign that hyped up the People's Republic to audiences in Southeast Asia and the U.S., according to a company investigation released on Tuesday.In a Tuesday press conference, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, said the network focused mostly on regional issues to audiences speaking Chinese, Filipino and English.The network briefly strayed into U.S. politics with posts both criticizing and supporting President Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.Pro-China Conspiracy Campaign Attacks COVID DrugmakerThe inauthentic network centered around a cluster of "55...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Latin America