Kamari Charlton, 37, was a reserve tight end for FSU from 1992 to 1996, according to NBC Sports. He now owns a construction company in his native Bahamas, where he lives with his wife. When they traveled to Singapore late last year, Charlton's wife was on a six-month medical visa, while her husband had only a three-month tourist visa.
He was arrested at the airport while trying to leave Singapore on Sept. 1, having overstayed his visa by 169 days, according to court documents excerpted by CNN. His wife was allowed to fly home to the Bahamas, and Charlton has been in jail since then.
The former football star faces a mandatory sentence of three strokes of the cane and a six-month prison sentence, if found guilty. He has a preliminary hearing in a Singapore courtroom today.
Charlton would be the first American caned in Singapore since 1994, when teenager Michael Fay was punished for vandalism. U.S. officials in the Clinton administration tried to intervene, but Fay's caning went ahead, though the government reduced the number of lashes.
In August, a Swiss man got three strokes of the cane and seven months in prison for spraying graffiti on a train.
U.S. Embassy officials have visited Charlton six times since he was arrested, Embassy spokeswoman Rachel Ehrendreich told CNN. "We remind U.S. citizens that foreigners in any country are subject to the laws of that country," she said. "We respect Singapore's right to try and sentence individuals within due process of law."
Charlton's wife's stay in Singapore was legal because she was on a medical visa, seeking treatment for complications in her pregnancy. The nature of her illness is unclear, as is the reason why the couple chose Singapore for treatment.
Singapore has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, but human rights groups have criticized the city-state for harsh punishments like caning and excessive penalties like hanging drug dealers.