By Rey Panaligan
Iranian beauty queen Zare Bahari Bahareh, who was intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) immediately after her arrival last Thursday, could not be sent back to her native country immediately because of her application for asylum.
Department of Justice (DOJ) Undersecretary and Spokesman Markk Perete said the exclusion proceedings against Zare Bahari has been terminated by the Bureau of Immigration (BI), but the application for asylum was still pending.
Zare Bahari was Iran’s representative to the Miss Intercontinental pageant held in Manila last year.
“Based on information received from the BI, Zare Bahari was prevented from entering the Philippines because of an Interpol (International Police) Red Notice issued against her,” Perete said.
He said the Red Notice “is based on a criminal case for assault filed against her in Iran by a fellow Iranian, which assault allegedly happened here in the Philippines.”
Based on the Interpol’s Red Notice, the BI immediately intercepted Zare Bahari and initiated exclusionary proceedings against her.
“While the exclusionary proceedings against her has been terminated, Zare Bahari remains in BI custody and could not be sent back to Iran as she has filed an application for asylum. Such application the DOJ shall resolve in due time,” he added.
He explained that “deportation pertains to the removal of an alien already in the country for cause, while exclusion pertains to the state’s refusal to allow an alien to enter its territory.”
Zare Bahari arrived in NAIA last Thursday on board a Cebu Pacific flight from Dubai. She was immediately intercepted and secluded by BI officials at the airport.
READ MORE: BI arrests Iranian fugitive at NAIA
She denied being a respondent in an assault and battery case in Dagupan City in Pangasinan.
She claimed she was studying in the Philippines and was already on her last year as a dentistry student.
At the same time, she claimed her life would be in danger if she would be deported to Iran since she violated her country’s strict rules on joining pageants and speaking out for women’s welfare.