An Iranian beauty queen is pleading for asylum in the Philippines as she fights extradition to her native country — fearing she’ll be executed if she gets sent back.
Bahareh Zare Bahari, who competed in the 2018 Miss Intercontinental pageant in Manila, has been trapped at the Ninoy Aquino airport in the Philippines since Oct. 18 when Iran issued an Interpol red alert for her on assault and battery charges.
But Bahari, 31, told The Telegraph that the charges are a “big lie” and that she’s being targeted for her political activism and speaking out in support of women’s rights.
If she gets deported to Iran, “they will kill me,” she said.
Markk Perete, undersecretary at the Philippine Department of Justice, said the alert issued by Iran for Bahari’s extradition stems from a claim that she assaulted a fellow Iranian citizen in the Philippines.
But Perete said Philippines authorities were unaware on the assault, which allegedly took place on their soil.
Bahari, who is currently in her last year of dental school in the Philippines, is confined to the airport’s Terminal 3 as the government reviews her asylum claim.
She was stopped at the airport as she returned from a two-week vacation to Dubai.
According to her profile on the pageant website, Bahari left Iran because of how limiting life is there for women.
“My wish is that my country will reach to freedom and equality,” her bio states.