THE Chinese authorities in Lhasa have sentenced 12 nuns to up to seven years in jail for apparently trying to organise a pro-independence rally in June last year, sources said. The imprisoned nuns, which included a 15-year-old girl, came from Garu nunnery, five kilometres north of Lhasa. They were arrested on June 14, 1993. Some sources say that the nuns were arrested before they had managed to begin any protest or demonstration. There were no reports of rallies in or near Lhasa that day. Two of the nuns, Ngawang Dedrol, 25, from Chumda township in Medrogungkar and Phuntsog Choekyi, 22, from Kache township in Phenpo Lhundrup county, were sentenced to seven years in prison, according to unofficial sources. Ngawang Keldron, a 19-year-old nun from Meldro Gyama, has been jailed for five years. Nine other nuns from Garu received sentences of between two and four years. The date of the trial was not known, but it was believed to have taken place in the past three months. The Chinese authorities have not issued any statements. All 12 nuns have been moved to Drapchi prison in Lhasa, where the most serious offenders are held, bringing the total number of nuns imprisoned there for political offences to 49, of which 32 were believed to be nuns from Garu. It is believed that 124 monks and 35 laymen have been held in Drapchi prison for political offences. Among them was a 15-year-old girl, Gyaltsen Pelsang, who was too young to be admitted legally to a prison according to the law in China. Two other Garu nuns, Ngawang Yangkyi and Gyaltsen Tsultrim, both 22, were also tried and jailed at Drapchi. The two had been arrested after they started a brief pro-independence demonstration in the centre of Lhasa on June 4 last year. Their sentences are unknown. Within days after the arrest of the 14 nuns, a working team of communist officials were sent to the nunnery to begin a three-month political education session. There are 90 nuns remaining at Garu.