WikiLeaks' founder applies to switch lawyers in Swedish case

Two women made the allegations against Assange last month, whilst he was in the country publicising the site's publication of some 70,000 leaked US documents relating to the Afghanistan conflict.

In his letter to the Stockholm district court, Assange said that his defence attorney Leif Silbersky had not been "sufficiently dedicated" to his case and "was hard to reach".

Silbersky, one of Sweden's most high profile defence lawyers, has rejected the claims but said he was ready to immediately hand over the case to Bjorn Hurtig - whom Assange has requested.

A judge at the court has yet to approve the request. Marianne Ny, director of public prosecution, said in her decision to continue the probe that there was need to further investigate suspected crimes of "sexual coercion and sexual molestation, respectively".

Two women made the allegations against Assange last month. Assange meanwhile told Swedish TV4 news that he has yet to be interviewed by police in the probe and denied the allegations.

"I have never done anything unconsensual in my private life... in Sweden or anywhere else. And any other sort of allegation is simply false," Assange said. WikiLeaks has been lauded as a whistleblower, but also faced some fierce criticism, after publishing the sensitive documents.

Within WikiLeaks there have been calls for Assange to take a timeout during the ongoing investigation, including from Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jonsdottir, a WikiLeaks organiser, according to online site The Daily Beast.

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