A protester dresses like a Guantanamo Bay prisoner during protests against holding detainees at the US military prison in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on Jan. 8, 2013.

The government can continue genital searches of inmates at the Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base in Cuba, the US Court of Appeals ruled.

The Obama administration, which considers the genital searches essential to security at Guantanamo, had appealed a ruling of a federal judge who called the practice "religiously and culturally abhorrent."

District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth last week ordered Guantanamo guards to stop using their hands to conduct groin and anal area searches.

Typically, detainees were frisked on their way to meetings or phone calls with lawyers, and upon returning to their cells.

The detainees' attorneys said that some detainees opted to forgo legal counsel in order to avoid the full body inspections they considered so disrespectful towards their religion.

In his ruling last week, Lamberth concluded that the motivation for the searches is not to enhance security but to deter the detainees' access to attorneys.

Lamberth ordered that guards revert to a previously used method — shaking detainees' pants to dislodge any contraband.

On Wednesday, the appeals court granted a temporary delay in enforcing the ban, giving the administration time to mount a full appeal.

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