Donald Pongrace Quoted by NLJ, As Akin Gump Reps American Reportedly Detained, Tortured by Congo Officials

Akin Gump public law and policy head Donald Pongrace was quoted by The National Law Journal for its article “American Tortured in DRC Sues Congolese Official.”

Darryl Lewis, an American contractor working for Jones Group International, a security advisory group with which Akin Gump has a strategic alliance, claims he was arrested near a political rally in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) along with three colleagues. According to Lewis, they were handed over to the Agence Nationale de Renseignements (ANR), a DRC intelligence agency, which subjected them to what he characterized as extreme interrogation methods—including sleep deprivation, starvation and other forms of mental and physical abuse—claiming that Lewis was an American mercenary attempting to overthrow the government.

Pongrace and public law and policy senior counsel Merrill Godfrey are representing Lewis in his suit against two Congolese officials—the general administrator of the ANR and the DRC Minister of Justice—filed at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on July 29.

Pongrace said that, although there are challenges to trying an international case, the fact that the two defendants were acting outside of their legal authority means they may be sued as individuals. He added, “[Lewis] deserves some day in court. We expect to continue this case for as long as it takes.” He also noted that Akin Gump may add more defendants to the suit if the facts warrant.