A man has been sentenced to death on charges of murder in Belarus, the only nation in Europe that still has capital punishment.

A court in Grodno in western Belarus on Friday found Ivan Kulish, 28, guilty of killing three female salesclerks while robbing stores on two separate occasions. He killed one of his victims with 10 blows of an axe.

Kulish, who had two past convictions for robbery, refused to testify during the trial and didn't make any remarks after the verdict. It was the second death sentence in Belarus so far this year, which has kept capital punishment despite criticism from international rights groups.

Overall, about 400 convicts have been sentenced to death in Belarus since it won independence following the 1991 Soviet collapse.