GUANTANAMO — A military judge refused Thursday to lift an order barring female guards at Guantanamo from having physical contact with five men charged in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, at least for now.

Army Col. James Pohl denied a request by prosecutors to lift a temporary order he imposed in January. Their request followed three days of testimony by Guantanamo Bay detention center officials who said the rule interfered with prison operations and discriminated against women soldiers.

Pohl is expected to take up the matter again following additional testimony at a hearing next year.

The defendants say being moved from their prison to court by teams that include women violates their Muslim beliefs.