http://www.thestar.com — Mohamed Fahmy may be out of prison but he is still fighting for his freedom.“We’re still living in this nightmare,” Fahmy told the Star in a wide-ranging interview from his family home in Cairo. “Of course I feel a little bit better that I’m out and I’m able to enjoy this freedom, but it’s still not gone. It’s still there.”The 40-year-old Canadian journalist was let out on bail early Friday morning after spending more than a year behind bars along with his Al Jazeera English colleagues, Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed. In a case that reverberated around the world, the three had been imprisoned by Egyptian authorities on terror-related charges and sentenced to between seven and 10 years.Fahmy’s release was ordered on Thursday, the first day of a retrial that he and Mohamed are facing after Egypt’s highest appeals court overturned their conviction on Jan. 1 and issued a damning appraisal of their original trial. Greste, who is still named in the case, was deported to Australia two weeks ago. The next session in court is scheduled for Feb. 23.“I don’t trust that we’re going to be acquitted, and to think that is naive,” he said. “Anyone who’s covered Egyptian political events and the judiciary here knows that unless you are really vindicated, it doesn’t end. We can celebrate for a couple days, but I’m still very cautious and very aware that more needs to be done on every level.”Fahmy’s family had to secure the $41,000 bail before he was able to leave prison. “I was just walking around the house and looking at the bed and enjoying the fact that I don’t have a cop watching me 24 hours a day,” he said Saturday. The case has made front-page news in Egypt, and Fahmy marvelled at the fact he was now recognized in the street, describing how several strangers approached him to shake his hand and welcome his release.As a condition of his bail, Fahmy must report to a police station every day and is banned from travelling. None of his possessions, including ID cards and passport, that were seized during his arrest have been returned. “I’m walking around with no ID. It’s really a very weird situation. I can’t rent an apartment. I can’t rent a hotel room. I can’t drive. I can’t get married,” Fahmy said as his fiancée, Marwa Omara, sat nearby. “It’s almost like a limited freedom, and I’m still planning to fight this all the way,” he vowed. “But I’m not just depending on the lawyers to do that. I’m going myself to meet the presidency, the minister of interior, the Foreign Ministry, the head of the journalist syndicate, to figure out what the hell’s going on with this case.”Fahmy said he strongly regrets his decision to give up his Egyptian citizenship, a move he made secretly in December in the hopes of benefiting from a decree that allows the president to deport foreigners convicted of crimes to their home countries, as Greste was. Fahmy said he was pressured by senior Egyptian government officials who assured him he would be sent to Canada.“I’m angry and I’m planning to get it back. I feel that I was betrayed,” he said. “To see myself viewed in the media as a traitor who dropped his citizenship to get out of a case — that really wasn’t easy for me.”Fahmy was also critical of the Canadian government’s handling of the case. Following his release, he called the Canadian ambassador to Egypt, Troy Lulashnyk, and thanked him for his efforts, but said Canada had not done enough. He urged Prime Minister Stephen Harper to call Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi personally to push for Fahmy’s deportation. The family started a campaign several days ago to turn up the heat on Ottawa, calling on supporters to use the hashtag #HarperCallEgypt.“They need to escalate their rhetoric,” Fahmy said, comparing Harper’s tepid efforts to those of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who spoke several times with el-Sissi directly to push for Greste’s freedom. “I’m not losing sight of who is at fault here; however, the Canadians need to understand that you have a journalist who has not committed any crimes and it’s an insult to Canada.”Fahmy also stressed his strong personal ties to Canada. “I’m not a Canadian of convenience. I grew up as a teenager there, I studied in university there … I’ve always been very poetic about living in Vancouver,” he said, adding he owns property and pays taxes in Canada.Fahmy spent Friday morning reuniting with his family at home before leaving with his fiancée to spend the afternoon in the courtyard of the Marriott hotel, where he and Greste were arrested in the middle of the night on Dec. 29, 2013.Over the course of his 411 days in detention, Fahmy spent time in three separate wings of Egypt’s notorious Tora prison complex. The first month — when he was imprisoned in a maximum-security wing known as “The Scorpion” — was the most trying. He was thrown into an insect-infested cell with no bed, sunlight or way of telling time, let out only to be interrogated by the prosecutor. “That was hell,” he said.Fahmy was eventually moved to a section of the prison called “Molhaq,” where he shared a three-by-four-metre cell with Greste and Mohamed that they dubbed “The Shoebox.” Locked inside for 23 hours a day, the three journalists established a routine, dividing up chores of cleaning and cooking.“We were really a support system for each other,” Fahmy said. “Brothers-in-arms in every sense of the word.”During their time in Molhaq, Fahmy and Mohamed held a nightly talk show with the other prisoners, many of whom were leading figures of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group ousted from power when Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi — a senior Brotherhood member — was overthrown by the military following mass protests against his rule.They named the show “Al Jazeera Live Inside Prison” and each night would call out through the small slit of their prison door to interview the other detainees, including the former speaker of Parliament, Saad al-Katatni, and the Brotherhood’s supreme guide, Mohammed Badie, as well as militant jihadists. “It was a way for everyone in that prison to vent and speak out and share a lot of their experiences in the political arena,” he said.“People never imagine they can go on living, saying, ‘I can never handle prison,’ but once you’re in a certain situation, your body and your mind tend to adapt,” Fahmy said. “But you really have to take care of your spiritual side, your physical side, your mental side.”After their sentencing last June, the three Al Jazeera journalists were transferred to the Mazraa wing of Tora, where they were kept with seven other prisoners in a spacious room equipped with a fridge and television.Fahmy has already written several sections of a book about his ordeal, which he plans to co-author with Greste. It’s titled The Marriott Cell — the term used by the Egyptian media for their case. Fahmy says his lawyer, Amal Clooney, has expressed interest in writing the book’s introduction.Fahmy was also critical of al Jazeera’s handling of the case, pointing to a lax attitude toward the security of its staff in Egypt during the turbulent months following the coup, when the network was vilified by Egyptian authorities and local media as a mouthpiece for the Muslim Brotherhood. “I have raised concerns to them at the highest levels of the network about the negligence of responsibility involved in handling of security,” he said. “There were issues that could have been dealt with from the management that would have improved our situation and protected us as journalists on the ground.”Fahmy feels he was caught up in a larger regional struggle between Egypt’s new rulers and the government of Qatar, which funds Al Jazeera and was a backer of Morsi and the Brotherhood during their brief time in power.“We were basically caught in the middle,” Fahmy said. “The prosecutor would straight up tell me, ‘You are paying the price for Qatar and Egypt.’“The Egyptians put me in prison, the Qataris contributed to my detention by mishandling the issues with al Jazeera’s presence in Egypt, and the Canadians had a very clear opening to get me out of this debacle,” he said. “It just turned out to be political score-settling between two nations, and to silence the three of us is just not acceptable.”RELATED: Harper should intervene to free Mohamed Fahmy: EditorialSharif Abdel Kouddous is a Cairo-based journalist and a fellow at the Nation Institute.