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Iranian beauty queen pleads for asylum in the Philippines

There were no criminal cases pending against Ms Bahari, he confirmed. “We don’t have any cause for refusing her entry for violation of our laws.”

Ms Bahari’s asylum plea is now being considered by the justice department, with the help of a lawyer. 

Meanwhile, the dental student is confined to Terminal 3’s transit area awaiting her fate. “There is no updating, no information about the reason why [they] keep me here so long,” she said. 

She believes her political statement at the pageant – waving a poster of Reza Pahlavi, the exiled former crown prince, and one of the foremost critics of Iran’s Islamic government – made her enemies in Tehran. 

Mr Pahlavi’s name has been invoked by some Iranian groups who have called for a return of the monarchy to deal with corruption and poor economic conditions.

“I used his photo on stage to be [the] voice of my people because all news and media are ignoring my people,” she said. 

Human Rights Watch on Tuesday called for “a fair and impartial hearing of her claim” in Manila. 

“It’s absolutely critical the Philippines provides Bahareh Zare Bahari with support, including access to legal counsel, to compile and file her asylum application,” said Phil Robertson, HRW deputy Asia director. 

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