Marianne Nye, a high-profile Swedish prosecutor, has left the case unexpectedly and been replaced by a less seasoned collaegue, Ingred Isgren. The reasons for the departure have not been disclosed.

At the same time, one of Assange’s accusers, political activist Anna Ardin, has dropped her lawyer, Claes Borgstrom. Her complaint is that Borgstrom spent more time talking to the media than addressing her inquiries, often passing her off to his assistant.

Borgstrom has been criticised for his handling of another high-profile case involving an alleged mass murderer, with his defense described by one Swedish commentator as “the worst in modern Swedish history.”

The news of the changes in Assange’s trial come shortly before Swedish Supreme Court judge Stefan Lindskog is set to give a lecture at the University of Adelaide about the Assange affair.

Assange has condemned Judge Lindskog’s discussion of his case. “If an Australian High Court judge came out and spoke on a case the court expected or was likely to judge, it would be regarded as absolutely outrageous,” he told Fairfax Media.

“This development is part of a pattern in which senior Swedish figures, including the Swedish Foreign Minister, the Prime Minister and Minister for Justice, have all publicly attacked me or WikiLeaks.”

Assange currently lives in the embassy of Ecuador in London where he has been granted political asylum on the grounds he is at risk of extradition to the United States to face conspiracy or other charges arising from WikiLeaks obtaining thousands of secret US military and diplomatic reports leaked by US Army private Bradley Manning.

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