Anders Breivik has claimed the Norwegian government is trying to kill him by holding him in solitary confinement – but that the principles of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf are keeping him alive.

Far-right terrorist Breivik was sentenced to 21 years in jail in 2012 for killing eight people in a bomb attack in Norwegian capital Oslo, then massacring 69 others, mostly teenagers, at a Labor Party youth camp on Utoya island.

Breivik alleges that the conditions of his detention are in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, but Norwegian authorities responded that Breivik has access to three cells, and restrictions on his communications were imposed to prevent him contacting far-right extremists.

The trial is being held in a court set up in the gym of Skien prison, where Breivik is incarcerated. In his first testimony to the court on 16 March, Breivik described the conditions of his detention as "inhuman" and accused the Norwegian government of attempting to drive him to suicide.

"It would have been more humane to shoot me than to treat me like an animal," he said.

He praised far-right parties in Germany and Greece, and said he drew strength from reading Hitler's Mein Kampf, which was written by the future Nazi dictator during his imprisonment in the 1920s. "Those principles are the only reasons that I am alive today," Breivik said.

Breivik claims that since his mother died the only prison visits he receives are from health workers, prison officials and others visiting in an official capacity. He claims the conditions are affecting his health: "I don't think most people would have survived as long as I have," he said.

Prison authorities claim that the few applications to visit him they receive are from far-right extremists, and that they have to restrict his contact with others to prevent him building far-right networks, and for his own safety.