MANILA—An Iranian beauty queen who has been held for more than a week at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is seeking President Rodrigo Duterte's help.
Bahareh Zare Bahari is being held on the basis of a red notice from the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) for allegedly assaulting a fellow Iranian.
"I want to go home. I need to go out because I don't have any crime in the Philippines or Iran," she said in a Facebook live video Friday morning.
She added, "President Duterte, come here and watch why Interpol stop me here."
Amid her ordeal, the 31-year-old beauty queen thanked her fans and friends in the Philippines for their support.
"I know [the] Philippine government will find [the] truth about Interpol issues soon and will support me to help me," she wrote in a subsequent Facebook post.
Bahari, who was Iran’s representative in the Miss Intercontinental 2018 pageant held in Manila, arrived in the Philippines from Dubai on Oct. 17.
Undersecretary Markk Perete, spokesperson of Department of Justice (DOJ), said the beauty queen has filed an application for asylum in the Philippines.
"She won’t be sent back just yet and not until her application for asylum is resolved. [The] BI [Bureau of Immigration] may have set her return for Iran before she filed her asylum application," he said.
In an interview with Saudi Arabia-based newspaper Arab News, Bahari feared she would be extradited and persecuted in Tehran on a trumped-up charge for supposedly supporting an Iranian opposition leader.
She also claimed she had been traveling in and out of the Philippines, where she has been studying dentistry since 2014.