Manila: A former Miss Iran on Friday completed a week of being stranded at the Manila airport, while seeking asylum in the Philippines over fears that she would be executed in Tehran on politically motivated charges.
Bahareh Zare Bahari, 31, was accused of assaulting an Iranian man in the Philippines. She has denied the charges, saying she was being implicated because she supports critics of the Iranian government, Efe news reported.
Tehran has issued an Interpol red alert for her extradition which resulted in her being denied entry into the Philippines at the airport on October 17 while trying to enter Manila on a Cebu Pacific flight from a Gulf country.
Bahareh wrote on a Facebook post that she was in the airport while her application was being processed, fearing that she may be extradited to Iran.
Bahareh was Iran's representative to the 2018 Miss Intercontinental pageant in Manila last year where she held up a poster of Reza Pahlavi, the exiled Crown Prince of Iran's now-defunct royal family and a prominent critic of the country's government.
"I used his photo in a beauty pageant and they are angry with me. If they deport me, they will give me at least 25 years in jail, if they do not kill me," she told Arab News, adding that she was also being targeted by the government for allegedly violating traditional values by taking part in beauty pageants and speaking for women's rights.
The model has explained in several posts on Facebook this week that since 2014 she has been travelling frequently to Manila, where she studies dentistry.
She said immigration authorities have never prevented her from entering the country and even had extended her visa in September.
The Department of Justice told Philippine daily Philstar that the former Miss Iran was denied entry due to the red notice and will remain under the custody of the Bureau of Immigration while her asylum application is processed.