A former Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic jail for dissidents in Latvia has reopened as a tourist attraction where visitors pay to sleep in bare cells as “prisoners” and to be insulted by staff dressed as guards.

“We’re getting visitors from all over the world,” said Lasma Eglite, an administrator at what was once a top-secret military complex in the Latvian port of Karosta. “We treat the guests just like prisoners,” said Ms Eglite, who plays a Red Army nurse and subjects inmates to a physical check-up on arrival. “If the prisoners do not obey, they are screamed at, insulted and punished with military exercises or lavatory-cleaning duties.”

A visit can last from a quarter of an hour to a day and a night. For an extra fee, a tourist can arrange to be “arrested” before being brought to the prison.