World Week Ahead: Mubarak Goes to Trial; EU Reacts to Syria Crackdown

BY Larisa Epatko  August 1, 2011 at 10:30 AM EST


A hall at a police academy on the outskirts of Cairo will serve as the courtroom for Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and other officials. Photo by AFP/Getty Images

Attention once again returns to the Middle East and North Africa this week with two major developments: the start of the trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and international reaction to Syria’s most recent crackdown on anti-government protesters.

EGYPT | If his trial isn’t delayed for health or other reasons, Mubarak will be moved from a hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh to the country’s capital Cairo for a trial scheduled to start on Wednesday. The trial will be televised and open to 600 spectators, Al Jazeera English reports.

Mubarak faces charges of embezzling funds and ordering the killing of protesters before his removal in February. He could face the death penalty. Also on trial are his sons Alaa and Gamal and former Interior Minister Habib el-Adly.

Read: A timeline of Mubarak’s life and career

SYRIA | Syria’s recent crackdown on protesters unleashed new sanctions by the European Union against the country.

Over the weekend, security forces clashed with demonstrators protesting the rule of Syrian President Bashar Assad. At least 74 people were killed, most in the city of Hama, human rights groups said.

The EU responded Monday by imposing financial and travel restrictions on more military and government officials, in addition to an existing ban on sales of arms and equipment that could be used against demonstrators.

View: A CNN interactive of the regional unrest

MEXICO | Authorities in Mexico announced the capture of the leader of the La Linea gang, Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez, who was involved in a series of high-profile killings.

Police said he confessed to ordering the deaths of 1,500 people and is believed to be behind the murders of three people connected to a U.S. consulate in Mexico last year.

We’ll post an interview online with a Los Angeles Times reporter who went inside Mexico’s drug cartels to report on how they transport their goods to the United States.

DEBT DEAL | We’ll also be keeping an eye on worldwide reaction to U.S. efforts to raise the $14 trillion debt ceiling in order to avoid defaulting on its loans. President Obama and congressional leaders agreed Sunday night to raise the debt limit through the 2012 elections in exchange for more than $2.5 trillion in spending cuts over a decade, but the compromise still must pass the House and Senate.

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