U.S. Defense Department lawyers say they are filing court papers explaining why they refuse to obey a federal judge's order to release more pictures related to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq.

The New York Times reports Saturday that government attorney Sean Lane told the court that the pictures "could result in harm to individuals," and reasons for withholding them would be explained in the sealed brief.

In June, Judge Alvin Hellerstein ordered the release of 144 photos and four videos, saying they would offer the "best evidence" about the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

Government officials argued the release could violate international law (Geneva Conventions) because prisoners might be identified and humiliated. But the judge ordered identifying features to be removed.

Published photos of Abu Ghraib last year created international condemnation of the U.S. military's treatment of prisoners, and resulted in the prosecution and conviction of some American soldiers.

Some information for this report provided by AP.