A Thai court has sentenced former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (centre) in absentia to five years in prison for alleged negligence. Picture: Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha/File photo

Bangkok — A Thai court has sentenced former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in absentia to five years in prison for alleged negligence in a money-losing rice subsidy program.

Yingluck is believed to have fled the country last month before the court session at which the verdict initially was to have been delivered.

Her government was overthrown in a military coup in 2014, and she has said the charges are politically motivated.

Her brother also led an elected government that was ousted by the military and lives in exile to avoid a jail term on corruption charges.

Associated Press